The atom is a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. The atomic nucleus contains a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons (except in the case of hydrogen-1, which is the only stable nuclide with no neutrons). The electrons of an atom are bound to the nucleus by the electromagnetic force. Likewise, a group of atoms can remain bound to each other by chemical bonds based on the same force, forming a molecule. An atom containing an equal number of protons and electrons is electrically neutral, otherwise it is positively or negatively charged and is known as an ion. An atom is classified according to the number of protons and neutrons in its nucleus: the number of protons determines the chemical element, and the number of neutrons determines the isotope of the element.
An international team of physicists have used one of the world’s most powerful lasers to create an unusual kind of plasma made out of hollow atoms, by using a breakthrough technique which involved emptying atoms of electrons from the inside out, instead of working from the outer shells inwards. This bizarre physics experiment shows once again [...]
Atom = at·om, noun \ˈa-təm\, from the greek ἄτομος (atomos) meaning “indivisible”. Apparently the atom isn’t that indivisible after all. Scientists at University of Bonn have managed to split an atom into two with a special laser, in special conditions, before merging it back together. Just like in the case of light, quantum mechanics allowed an atom to be split and then [...]
A Romanian scientist working at the University of Ohio captured the first-ever images of atoms moving within a molecule by applying a novel technique which basically turns the electrons of a molecule into flashbulbs; while this is currently only a new way to visualize molecules, researchers believe that one day it will be the key [...]
In case you’re wondering, what you’re looking at is a silicon chip, only 1 millimeter square that was used by researchers to prove how data can be stored in the magnetic spin of atoms – and how it can then be accessed electronically. Physicists from the University of Utah have managed to store information in [...]
The Large Hadron Collider at CERN has taken another step towards its goal of finding the so called ‘god particle‘: it recently produced the highest temperatures ever obtained through a science experiment. The day before yesterday, 7 November was a big one at the LHC, as the particle collider started smashing lead ions head-on instead [...]
Since the Large Hadron Collider went back in business, all sort of rumors have been circling the scientific circles (and not only). However, until these rumors are proven wrong or right, the first official paper on proton collisions from the Large Hadron Collider has been published in this week’s edition of Springer’s European Physical Journal [...]
Were you one of those students who used to complain about all those chemical elements you had to study at school? Well, I guess this particular piece of news will not exactly make you celebrate. It seems that chemistry has yet a lot more to offer as the element 112 has just been recognised by [...]