Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The coldest chemistry

Date:
October 21, 2010
Source:
Optical Society of America
Summary:
Chemical reactions tend to slow down as temperature is lowered, but this isn't always true. Researchers have shown that chemical reactions can continue even at temperatures just a fraction of a degree above absolute zero. In recent experiments, they took diatomic potassium and rubidium molecules, each in their ground states (lowest-possible energy), and found that when mixed, the molecules dissociated and combined into KRb -- molecules with one potassium and one rubidium atom.

Chemical reactions tend to slow down as temperature is lowered, but this isn't always true. Deborah Jin,Jun Ye, and their colleagues at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado have shown that chemical reactions can continue even at temperatures just a fraction of a degree above absolute zero.

In recent experiments, they took diatomic potassium and rubidium molecules, each in their ground states (lowest-possible energy), and found that when mixed, the molecules dissociated and combined into KRb -- molecules with one potassium and one rubidium atom.

Furthermore, the reaction rates could be slowed considerably by applying an electric field, which orients the molecules in such a way as to suppress chemical reactions. The reason for this is that the KRb molecules are fermions and obey the Pauli Exclusion Principle, just like where two electrons of the same quantum energy and spin are forbidden to lie in a single quantum state -- just operated at the level of whole molecules. When applied electric fields oriented the KRb molecules so as to have the same spin state (they would already have the same energy state, being in the ground state to start with) chemical reactions were greatly suppressed.

NIST physicist John Bohn has now provided the theoretical underpinnings for the ultracold chemical behavior. He will describe how spin-dependent chemistry, or "stereodynamics," will operate in future experiments.

The Presentation, "Manipulation of Ultracold Chemistry," takes place on Oct. 28 at the Frontiers in Optics (FiO) 2010/Laser Science XXVI -- the 94th annual meeting of the Optical Society (OSA), which is being held together with the annual meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Laser Science at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center in Rochester, N.Y., from Oct. 24-28.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Optical Society of America. "The coldest chemistry." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101020195516.htm>.
Optical Society of America. (2010, October 21). The coldest chemistry. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101020195516.htm
Optical Society of America. "The coldest chemistry." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101020195516.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lithium Battery 'Holy Grail' Could Provide 4 Times The Power

Lithium Battery 'Holy Grail' Could Provide 4 Times The Power

Newsy (July 28, 2014) Stanford University published its findings for a "pure" lithium ion battery that could have our everyday devices and electric cars running longer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 25, 2014) Shipping containers have been piling up as America imports more than it exports. Some university students in Washington D.C. are set to get a first-hand lesson in recycling. Their housing is being built using refashioned shipping containers. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 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