Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The interplay of dancing electrons

Date:
November 30, 2011
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
Negative ions play an important role in everything from how our bodies function to the structure of the universe. Scientists have now developed a new method that makes it possible to study how the electrons in negative ions interact in, which is important in, for example, superconductors and in radiocarbon dating.

Lasers, in which it is possible to select with high precision the exact colour of the light produced, are important tools in the research.
Credit: Johan Rohlιn.

Negative ions play an important role in everything from how our bodies function to the structure of the universe. Scientists from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have now developed a new method that makes it possible to study how the electrons in negative ions interact in, which is important in, for example, superconductors and in radiocarbon dating.

"By studying atoms with a negative charge, 'negative ions', we can learn how electrons coordinate their motion in what can be compared to a tightly choreographed dance. Such knowledge is important in understanding phenomena in which the interaction between electrons is important, such as in superconductors," says Anton Lindahl of the Department of Physics at the University of Gothenburg.

A negative ion is an atom that has captured an extra electron, giving it a negative charge. Negative ions are formed, for example, when salt dissolves in water. We have many different types of negative ion in our bodies of which the most common is chloride ions. These are important in the fluid balance of the cells and the function of nervous system, among other processes.

Increased knowledge about negative ions may lead to a better understanding of our origin. This is because negative ions play an important role in the chemical reactions that take place in space, being highly significant in such processes as the formation of molecules from free atoms. These molecules may have been important building blocks in the origin of life.

"I have worked with ions in a vacuum, not in water as in the body. In order to be able to study the properties of individual ions, we isolate them in a vacuum chamber at extremely low pressure. This pressure is even lower than the pressure outside of the International Space Station, ISS."

Anton Lindahl's doctoral thesis describes studies in which he used laser spectroscopy to study how the electrons in negative ions interact.

"In order to be able to carry out these studies, I have had to develop measurement methods and build experimental equipment. The measurements that the new equipment makes possible will increase our understanding of the dance-like interplay."

The new measurement methods that Anton has developed are important in a number of applications. One example is the measurement of trace substances in a technique known as 'accelerator mass spectrometry' or AMS. The technology and knowledge from Gothenburg are being used in a collaborative project between scientists in Gothenburg, Vienna (Austria) and Oak Ridge (USA) to increase the sensitivity of AMS measurements. One application of AMS is radiocarbon dating, which determines the age of organic matter. Another application is measurements on ice cores drilled from polar ice, which can be used to investigate the climate hundreds of thousands of years into the past.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. C. Diehl, K. Wendt, A. O. Lindahl, P. Andersson, D. Hanstorp. Ion optical design of a collinear laser-negative ion beam apparatus. Review of Scientific Instruments, 2011; 82 (5): 053302 DOI: 10.1063/1.3587617

Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "The interplay of dancing electrons." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111129092024.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2011, November 30). The interplay of dancing electrons. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111129092024.htm
University of Gothenburg. "The interplay of dancing electrons." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111129092024.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) — A new company allows customers to make copies of keys by simply uploading a couple of photos. But could it also be great for thieves? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) — The Rockefellers — heirs to an oil fortune that made the family name a symbol of American wealth — are switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — A SpaceX Rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, carrying a custom-built 3-D printer into space. NASA envisions astronauts one day using the printer to make their own spare parts. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — Billions of dollars are being spent on a massive super sewer to take away London's vast output of waste, which is endangering the River Thames. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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