Alchemists used buckyballs to compress the noble gas into one dimension

Alchemists used buckyballs to compress the noble gas into one dimension

During my commute to work today, I had the misfortune of being stuck in a narrow underground pipe. But it could have been worse: I could have been crushed into one dimension.

This is what recently happened to some krypton atoms in the chemistry laboratory at the University of Ulm. Using a transmission electron microscope (or TEM), the team was able to compress the noble gas into a nanotube with a diameter of 1/500,000 the diameter of a human hair. In such a narrow space, atoms cannot squeeze together and clump together, becoming a one-dimensional gas. The team’s research is published In the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

“Carbon nanotubes enable us to trap atoms, precisely position them and study them at the single-atom level in real time,” said Andrei Klobistov, a chemist at the University of Nottingham and co-author of the study. launch. “Because Kr has a high atomic number, it is easier to observe in TEM than lighter elements. This allowed us to track the positions of Kr atoms as moving dots.

It’s really hard to identify atoms. They are small, and in gas they fly at almost the speed of sound. To image krypton, researchers had to trap the atoms and transfer them to a very small test tube.

To do this, they trap Krypton in buckyballs – short for… BuckminsterfullereneIt is a football-shaped molecule consisting of 60 carbon atoms. The buckyballs served as a cage for every atom of Krypton. Researchers can then release the krypton from the buckyballs by heating them to 2,192 degrees Fahrenheit (1,200 degrees Celsius) or irradiating them with an electron beam. Both methods cause the buckyballs to fuse, leaving the krypton atoms in a neat line in the carbon nanotube. Once this line was reached, the definition between each atom disappeared: they were a uniform, one-dimensional gas.

“To our knowledge, this is the first time that chains of noble gas atoms have been directly imaged, creating a one-dimensional gas in a solid,” said Paul Brown, director of nanoscale at the University of Nottingham. and Microscale Research Center, in ed.

If we’re being very technical, the krypton in the tube is certainly 3D as gas still has some volume, even if its diameter is very narrow. It exists in the same way “One-dimensional” strings of electrons It extends across the Milky Way Galaxy. However, it’s great. Studying how atoms interact can help scientists learn how matter behaves in such narrow conditions, and thus better understand nature at its extremes.

more: One-dimensional ping-pong is still a surprising challenge

(tags for translation)Noble Gas

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