Skip to comments.New experiments challenge fundamental understanding of electromagnetism
Posted on 12/03/2012 2:29:16 PM PST by neverdem
A cornerstone of physics may require a rethink if findings at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are confirmed. Recent experiments suggest that the most rigorous predictions based on the fundamental theory of electromagnetismone of the four fundamental forces in the universe, and harnessed in all electronic devicesmay not accurately account for the behavior of atoms in exotic, highly charged states.
The theory in question is known as quantum electrodynamics, or QED, which physicists have held in high regard for decades because of its excellent track record describing electromagnetism's effects on matter. In particular, QED has been especially useful in explaining the behavior of electrons, which orbit every atomic nucleus. But for all of QED's successes, there are reasons to believe that QED may not provide a complete picture of reality, so scientists have looked for opportunities to test it to ever-increasing precision.
One way to test parts of QED is to take a fairly heavy atomtitanium or iron, for exampleand strip away most of the electrons that circle its nucleus. "If 20 of titanium's 22 electrons are removed, it becomes a highly charged ion that looks in many ways like a helium atom that has been shrunk to a tenth its original size," says NIST physicist John Gillaspy, a member of the research team. "Ironically, in this unusual state, the effects of QED are magnified, so we can explore them in more detail."
Among the many things QED is good for is predicting what will happen when an electron orbiting the nucleus collides with a passing particle. The excited electron gets bumped up momentarily to a higher energy state but quickly falls back to its original orbit. In the process, it gives off a photon of light, and QED tells what color (wavelength) that photon will have...
(Excerpt) Read more at phys.org ...
I thought the science was settled. /sarc
Two hydrogen atoms walk into a bar.
One says, “I’ve lost my electron.”
The other says, “Are you sure?”
The first replies, “Yes, I’m positive...”
The potential energy field inherent in an unsatisfied ion warps space and time just as gravitational potential energy fields do.
“I thought the science was settled. /sarc”
It always is...until it’s not.
With this and the last tenable vestiges of SuperSymmetry burning up in CERN things are changing.
I’m not an electrician but it’s always seemed to me
to be somewhat anachronistic to use atomic power to
run a steam turbine to make electricity. Surely there
must be a way of direct production...? Here we are
generating electrical current with the same means
of production used from the very beginning.
Hard to come up with a more efficient way of converting heat to electricity at that scale and reliability. If you’re trying to capture electrons directly and send them out the transmission grid you’re going to be importing truckloads of nuclear fuel every day, not to mention running the biggest X-Ray machine in the world.
“If 20 of titanium’s 22 electrons are removed, it becomes a highly charged ion that looks in many ways like a helium atom that has been shrunk to a tenth its original size,” says NIST physicist John Gillaspy, a member of the research team.
***And if that heavy metal is absorbing hydrogen atoms, the resultant Condensed Matter starts behaving as if it were under a plasma, with far more likelihood of generating fusion events than previously.
Got mass? Scientists observe electrons become both heavy and speedy
Phys Org ^ | June 13, 2012 | Phys Org
Posted on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 10:08:53 AM by Kevmo
Got mass? Scientists observe electrons become both heavy and speedy
And when you go to the original article, don’t pass up the side-bar link to the story on the Large Hardon Collider - er, that is, the Large Hadron Collider.
LOL. Post of the month !!
The energy levels that the electrons can possess are a function of their attraction to the nucleus, which is largely a function of the nuclear charge (which equals the number of protons).
As long as you don’t change the number of protons, you don’t change the identity of the element. An iron nucleus identifies it as iron whether it has all it’s electrons (as in metallic iron) or whether it’s missing three of it’s electrons (as it the form of iron found in iron oxide / rust).
Losing 20 out of 22 electrons is a pretty big perturbation, but as long as the number of protons in the nucleus stays the same, you’re dealing with the same element.
The experimental results they came up, if correct, suggest there may be some electron-electron repulsion, or orbital-orbital perturbation they hadn’t accounted for in determining orbital energies via QED theory. But that’s way beyond any physics I can make sense of.
But there's nothing in this article that indicates that QED is in trouble, only that photomeission wavelengths differ from those predicted purely by QED. A much more likely explanation than the BIG HEADLINE that QED "might" be wrong is that there are other energy effects not accounted for by the experimenters.
That doesn't grab headlines or generate grant money, so they aren't going to broadcast the more pedestrian (and likely) explanation.
It’s interesting that we’ve harnessed electrical energy for useful purposes for over a century, and still have a lot to learn about this basic force.
Only true in hydrogenic atoms. The energy levels of multiple electron atoms are dominated by the Exclusion Principle.
As long as you dont change the number of protons, you dont change the [nuclear] identity of the element
True in terms of the physics, but not the chemistry. An He+ ion does not behave like Helium for chemical purposes, (though Z is the same) and it certainly doesn't behave like Hydrogen (though Ne is the same.)
An iron nucleus [nucleus, yes!] identifies it as iron whether it has all its electrons (as in metallic iron) or whether its missing three of its electrons (as it the form of iron found in iron oxide / rust).
Again, too oversimplified to be true. There is significant overlap of the state vectors of the oxygen and iron in rust, and the delocalized electrons are in molecular orbitals; they are not ions, and they are not atomic orbitals, either. If oxidized iron identified as iron when three of its electrons are significantly delocalized into molecular orbitals, there would be no reason for rust to form (and it would not form.) It is iron in terms of the nuclear chemistry, but is no longer iron in terms of atomic (ordinary) chemistry.
Losing 20 out of 22 electrons is a pretty big perturbation
It's not a perturbation from that perspective, and a perturbation approach wouldn't be done that way: the perturbation would treat the atom as a hydrogenic atom with Z=22, and one electron. The second electron is then added as a perturbation. Just one additional electron is still a very large effect.
I know you will think I am picking nits; however, in terms of what's reported here, the researchers are essentially examining the atomic (not nuclear) properties of certain atoms. For the purposes of these studies, what they're saying is: we expect the emission spectra to look like an "overcharged" hydrogen or helium nucleus. The energy levels of those are very well known (the former -- hydrogen -- is, in fact, exactly calculable, with any Z you want, and is an exercize for junior level nuclear physics or P-chem courses at undergraduate level. With a hydrogenic wavefunction with Z=22, the Schroedinger equation doesn't apply very well. Still, the values with a full relativistic treatment with QED are calculable to a very high degree of precision.)
So ... quite surprising. I bet it turns out to be an experimental artifact and is not new science.
Well, we’ve been using gravity since before civilization began, and our understanding of it is even poorer ...
One of the reasons I LOVE gravity. Although to others much smarter than me, I suppose they have a better understanding of it.(?)
No problem with the “nits” - they were well-picked. At what level one presents this stuff depends a lot on what audience you’re shooting at. Given the nature of the original question, I’m not sure delocalized MO’s and the wave equation would be the best place to start - but I do appreciate your well-presented elaborations.