facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Molecule predicted by theory discovered

April 23, 2009 at 5:33 PM   |   Comments

STUTTGART, Germany, April 23 (UPI) -- German-led scientists say they have observed for the first time a rare molecule, the existence of which has until now only been predicted by theory.

The researchers from the University of Stuttgart and the University of Oklahoma told the BBC the so-called Rydberg molecule was theorized to form when one of its two atoms has an electron orbiting at an extreme distance from the atom's nucleus.

First predicted by physicist Chris Greene of the University of Colorado, the existence of the Rydberg molecule is consistent with quantum theories proposed in 1934 by Nobel prize-winning physicist Enrico Fermi, the researchers said.

The scientists said they observed a Rydberg molecule by super-cooling rubidium molecules to a temperature near absolute zero -- minus 273 degrees Celsius.

"We use an ultracold cloud of rubidium -- as you cool it, the atoms in the gas move closer together," Professor Vera Bendkowsky, who led the study at the University of Stuttgart, told the BBC. "The nuclei of the atoms have to be at the correct distance from each other for the electron fields to find each other and interact."

The scientists said they expect their findings to lead to the development of other novel molecules.

The research was reported in the journal Nature.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Massive sunspot sending violent flares toward Earth Massive sunspot sending violent flares toward Earth
2
Google exec breaks skydive record with dive from near-space Google exec breaks skydive record with dive from near-space
3
Powerful new microscope sees cell division in real time Powerful new microscope sees cell division in real time
4
Coal-rich Poland wants concessions in EU climate deal Coal-rich Poland wants concessions in EU climate deal
5
Stone tools reveal Ice Age settlement in the Andes Stone tools reveal Ice Age settlement in the Andes
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback