Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Laser Technique May Help Find Supernova

Date:
August 12, 2009
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
One single atom of a certain isotope of hafnium found on Earth would prove that a supernova once exploded near our solar system. The problem is how to find such an atom 00 among billions of others. Researchers in Sweden have developed a laser technique that, in combination with standard techniques, may be able to do the job.

One single atom of a certain isotope of hafnium found on Earth would prove that a supernova once exploded near our solar system. The problem is how to find such an atom -- among billions of others. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have developed a laser technique that, in combination with standard techniques, may be able to do the job.

Hafnium is a common metallic element used in nuclear reactors. However, one of its isotopes is hard to find since it is only made when a supernova explodes. This means that if the isotope, called 182Hf, were discovered on Earth, it would prove that a supernova once exploded near our solar system. This has caused physicists around the world to work hard to find the isotope.

One among billions

Unfortunately, this particular isotope is difficult to distinguish from other atoms -- only one in many billions of hafnium atoms is believed to be of the sought-after kind. Researcher Pontus Andersson from the Department of Physics at the University of Gothenburg and colleagues from USA, Germany and Austria have developed a laser technique that can be used to reject irrelevant atoms, and therefore isolate the unique 182Hf.

In technical terms, their new technique concerns negative ions, which are atoms or molecules with one extra electron. By using laser to detach the extra electron and at the same time register the level of energy needed to do this, it is known that the strength of the bond between the extra electron and the rest of the atom or molecule varies among different substances.

Possible detection

This means that by choosing a certain wavelength of the laser light, they can detach the extra electron from some elements while ions of other elements remain intact. Consequently, if 182Hf exists on Earth, then Andersson and his colleagues should be able to find it, simply by using laser light to remove sufficient amount of other, more common, interfering atoms, to allow detection of 182Hf by conventional methods.

The new technique is a product of advanced atomic physics experiments conducted together with Stockholm University, The VERA institute i Vienna, Austria and Oak Ridge National Lab in USA.

"Our goal is to develop a method that can be of aid when searching for very unusual isotopes. In many cases the standard methods used are hampered by other, interfering atoms. The technique is still in its infancy, but we have shown that our laser beam can remove 99.99 % of the interfering ions in a beam without destroying the ions we are looking for," says Andersson.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "New Laser Technique May Help Find Supernova." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090811144002.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2009, August 12). New Laser Technique May Help Find Supernova. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090811144002.htm
University of Gothenburg. "New Laser Technique May Help Find Supernova." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090811144002.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) German researchers have used a fake fingerprint made from glue to bypass the fingerprint security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Porsche CEO Says Supercar Is Not Dead: Cue the Spyder 918

Porsche CEO Says Supercar Is Not Dead: Cue the Spyder 918

TheStreet (Apr. 16, 2014) The Porsche Spyder 918 proves that, in an automotive world obsessed with fuel efficiency, the supercar is not dead. Porsche North America CEO Detlev von Platen attributes the brand's consistent sales growth -- 21% in 2013 -- with an investment in new technology and expanded performance dynamics. The hybrid Spyder 918 has 887 horsepower and 944 lb-ft of torque, but it can run 18 miles on just an electric charge. The $845,000 vehicle is not a consumer-targeted vehicle but a brand statement. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Industry's Optimism Shines At New York Auto Show

Industry's Optimism Shines At New York Auto Show

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) After seeing auto sales grow last month, there's plenty for the industry to celebrate as it rolls out its newest designs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ford Mustang Fetes Its 50th Atop Empire State Building

Ford Mustang Fetes Its 50th Atop Empire State Building

AFP (Apr. 16, 2014) Ford celebrated the 50th birthday of its beloved Mustang by displaying a new model of the convertible on top of the Empire State Building in New York. Duration: 00:28 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins