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Rydberg Molecule Created For the First Time

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the not-around-long-enough-for-a-group-photo dept.

Science 127

krou writes "The BBC is reporting that the Rydberg molecule has been formed from two atoms of rubidium. Proven in theory, this is the first time it's been created, reinforcing the fundamental quantum theories of Enrico Fermi. Chris Greene, the theoretical physicist who first predicted that the Rydberg molecules could exist, said: 'The Rydberg electron resembles a sheepdog that keeps its flock together by roaming speedily to the outermost periphery of the flock, and nudging back towards the centre any member that might begin to drift away.' It's a sheepdog with a very short life-span, however; the longest lived molecule only lasted 18 microseconds. Vera Bendkowsky, who led the research, explained how they created the molecule: '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. We use an ultracold cloud of rubidium — as you cool it, the atoms in the gas move closer together. We excite the atoms to the Rydberg stage with a laser. If we have a gas at the critical density, with two atoms at the correct distance that are able to form the molecule, and we excite one to the Rydberg state, then we can form a molecule.'"

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127 comments

TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (4, Informative)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704129)

They really are short lived. 18 seconds would be an eternity for them, apparently.

(So, the summary here presently says "the longest lived molecule only lasted 18 seconds." whereas the article says "the longest lived Rydberg molecule survives for just 18 microseconds." Rather large difference.)

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (4, Funny)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704179)

What's seven orders of magnitude between friends?

18 microseconds here, 18 microseconds there, before you know it, we're going to be wasting a lot of time!

...Here all week, veal, etc.

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (4, Informative)

mrslacker (1122161) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704303)

> What's seven orders of magnitude between friends?

Still out by an order of magnitude ;-)

Anyway, "very short" (as the original article says) in the context of particle physics has often meant measurements of the order of nanoseconds (say, nuclear bomb testing measurements) or even much much small for big bang (Planck time, etc).

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (0)

sarahbau (692647) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705323)

Yeah. When I read the summary's "18 seconds," I was thinking that it was an extremely long time for something like this.

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (2, Interesting)

Noren (605012) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705963)

Well, but this is a chemical experiment, though the physics aspects are certainly interesting. Of course, all chemistry is physics but not all physics is chemistry.

18 microseconds is on the short lived side for chemistry. On the other hand, The time that it takes a chemical bond to form or break is typically measured in femtoseconds, so this is long enough to demonstrate that it lasts several orders of magnitude longer than just a random chance approach of unbonded atoms.

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 4 years ago | (#27706037)

Well its that last order that pisses him off.

Seven orders is ok but the eighth and you're off my friends list.

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (3, Funny)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704901)

What's seven orders of magnitude between friends?...

That's what I always tell the ladies. I mean, 10 inches, 10 micro inches... same thing right? Right...?
-Taylor

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (0, Troll)

tritonman (998572) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704965)

so where does it go after 18 microseconds? Get zapped into some parallel universe where only theoretical particles can survive?

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27705695)

Well it dissociates back into two independent atoms. I mean duh, what were you thinking?

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (3, Informative)

Pearlswine (1121125) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704447)

I bet the submitter used the micro [wikipedia.org] symbol. For some reason that symbol disappears when the story is either submitted or reaches the main page. I couldn't even copy/paste it into this comment

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (5, Funny)

lgw (121541) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704533)

The bundle of perl scipts known as Slashcode don't support UTF8 text, or really anything beyone 1960s ASCII. While it would be nice to update slashdot to the current millenium, it's not physically possible to maintain perl code so we're stuck with it.

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27704723)

Informative? Who let the mods-on-crack out?

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (5, Interesting)

Dahan (130247) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705103)

It used to support Unicode, but apparently, due to people using control characters (RTL overrides and such [slashdot.org] ) to do clever things, anything non-ASCII is now filtered or mangled. Too bad they went overboard--seems like the easy way to fix this would be to only filter out control characters. Unicode publishes a handy database [unicode.org] that you can use to find out which characters are control characters.

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (3, Informative)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704585)

Hmm... not even HTML entities work: 18 µs = 18 s = 18 s (numeric entity)

Sorry, but the /. developers should be ashamed. They are the only site I know, that does not support UTF-8...

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (1, Funny)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704727)

And they need to get on that, because I really want to use snowman and jolly roger unicode symbols in my posts!

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (1, Offtopic)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704871)

Well, I'd more care to use the real apostrophe, real quotes, the ellipsis character, list point, wide dash, Euro symbol, mathematical symbols, write foreign names and many other useful characters, that are on my keyboard. :)

Instead I am forced to use really stupid replacements.

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (0, Offtopic)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704921)

Well, I'd more care to use the real apostrophe, real quotes, the ellipsis character, list point, wide dash, Euro symbol, mathematical symbols, write foreign names and many other useful characters, that are on my keyboard. :)

Instead I am forced to use really stupid replacements.

Foreign names, who the hell cares about foreign names!? ;)

Also, my keyboard has snowmen.
-Taylor

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (5, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705093)

Mathematical symbols would be super handy on a site that claims to appeal to nerds though.

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27705199)

On the bright side their RSS feeds generally don't require you to parse anything past the XML, which is kinda' nifty.

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (2, Informative)

krou (1027572) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705653)

I'd like to say "Hmmm, yes, that's exactly what I did when I submitted it", and look less of an idiot, but I'm afraid it was a mistake on my part when I submitted it. In my defence, all I can say is I have an attention span of 18 seconds ;)

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704529)

Of course the editors are going to sensationalize! You can't capture an audience if your summary states 18 microseconds.

Re:TFA says "18 microseconds", not "18 seconds" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27704911)

We all know how Slashdotters like to lie about the size of their molecules!

Typo in summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27704131)

Try 18 microseconds...

Not quite 18 seconds (0, Redundant)

pauljuno (998497) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704139)

Just a quick correction here, the molecule did not survive 18 seconds. Here's the text from the article: "This ultracold experiment is also ultra-fast - the longest lived Rydberg molecule survives for just 18 microseconds. "

Re:Not quite 18 seconds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27704595)

But I can undo their experiment with the Omega-13 device since it reverts time by 13 seconds. Hah! And I don't need any sissy rubidium to do it either. I just need a beryllium sphere of sufficient density and have to rig my solar matrix for endothermic propulsion and I'm there.

Well (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27704143)

If you modulate an inverse tachion beam you should be able to get the same results.

Re:Well (2, Funny)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704271)

You fool, if you fail to polarize the deflector dish first you could cause a subspace tear!

Re:Well (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705533)

Don't worry; we'll just have CleverNickName come by and reverse the polarity of the anti-tachion field and we'll be fine.

Scotty! (3, Funny)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704259)

"Captain, I canna hold the DiRubidium together any longer..."

Re:Scotty! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27704659)

"Captain, I canna cold the DiRubidium together any longer..."

here. fixed it for u

Smart and Smarter... (3, Funny)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704275)

"...We use an ultracold cloud of rubidium â" as you cool it, the atoms in the gas move closer together. We excite the atoms to the Rydberg stage with a laser. If we have a gas at the critical density, with two atoms at the correct distance that are able to form the molecule, and we excite one to the Rydberg state, then we can form a molecule."

Uhhh, yeah, what he said.

18 seconds or 18 microseconds? Could mean the difference between winning or losing the purse at the first-ever electron bull rodeo...

What are the implications of this discovery? (1)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704311)

I RTFA, but can someone more well-versed in Physics explain what sort of implications this has?

Does it validate some kind of Quantum Mechanics theory?

Does it have any practical application, either now or in the distant future?

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27704485)

Inexpesnive flying cars and effective robot wives.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704887)

Flying cars == no brakes.

Effective robot wives == x^n nagging quotient.

I'll pass if it's all the same to you...

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (4, Funny)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704889)

Robot wives is an oxymoron. Robots are logical wives are illogical. Therefore no robot will ever replace the wife. Mistress maybe. Though if it lasts only 18 seconds I have my doubts.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27705579)

Not a problem, I only last 18 seconds myself.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27705647)

If you last less than 18 seconds, could still be ok

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705715)

Robot wives? Did you not see the ST:TOS episode "I, Mudd"?

Harcourt! Harcourt Fenton Mudd... What have you been up to? Nothing good I'm sure... Have you been drinking again, you miserable sot. Staying out all night and then giving me some silly story...

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (5, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704547)

Not much. Being able to create Rydberg molecules via physical experiment just serves to help validate the theories that predict them.

Now if they had created Zoidberg molecules, the implications would be huge, particularly in the realm of Decapodian cell biology.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (3, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704689)

[sigh]

NOT informative. I answered nothing not gleanable from the first few lines of the summary. It was a setup for a piss-poor attempt at Friday humor.

I swear, sometimes I feel like I have a "Mod me up inappropriately" note taped to my back.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27704733)

People mod you informative to give you karma which +1 funny would not.

Now stop bitching about getting modded up.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (3, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704931)

I neither care about nor need karma.

Moderations should be made accurately, not some other fashion to game the karma system.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (2, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705389)

Moderations should be made accurately, not some other fashion to game the karma system.

The moderation / karma system exists with or without your best intentions. People will use it as they see fit, regardless of whether or not you consider it "use" or "abuse".

Long ago I figured "it's utterly trivial" so I stopped worrying about it. Much easier that way, as I don't have to explain myself to some self-appointed slashdot apologist.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (1)

noppy (1406485) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705941)

I see reverse psychology at work here. Which means this post will be modded down.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704779)

Given that we can no longer assume /.ers will read a summary properly, much less an article, your post may have been more informative than you think.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704793)

Well THAT just got you modded up.

Again.

Sometimes (especially on Fridays) who can't win.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (2, Informative)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704915)

I swear, sometimes I feel like I have a "Mod me up inappropriately" note taped to my back.

You must be new around here.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27704927)

Better than the "mod me down inappropriately" note on my back...

whats worse than telling an unfunny joke? (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705105)

telling a joke and being taken seriously

happened to me yesterday: i make a stupid joke about skynet, and apparently someone thinks i was insightful

http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1209623&cid=27693127 [slashdot.org]

wtf? its disturbing to be modded insightful for this. who the hell thinks i was being insightful? why?!

its like going fishing and catching a dead baby. you made the joke for a little fun, and instead you get a horrible line of thought: someone out there is deadly serious about light hearted mirth

Re:whats worse than telling an unfunny joke? (3, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705363)

its like going fishing and catching a dead baby.

What's not to laugh about that? You can't spell slaughter without laughter.

Reminds me of a story...

When I was a kid, my oldest sister was a park ranger at a nearby state park with a lake. One day they get radioed by an old guy on a canoe, who said he caught a body. Sure enough, he had... and in trying to retrieve his lure, he dislodged the body from whatever was holding it under, and it floated to the surface.

Apparently, he wasn't the first one to hook into it... just the first to retrieve it. When the puddlepolice boat motored out to him, he was furtively cutting lures our of the body and putting them in his tackle box.

Totally irrelevant, I know.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (2, Funny)

$1uck (710826) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705163)

I can only hope the moderators were being humorous. zoidberg particles? Or maybe its time to start moving my investment portfolio over to sandwiches.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27705397)

I read that as:

I swear, sometimes I feel like I have a "Mod me up inappropriately" note stapled to my back.

Ouch.

capcha word: fastens

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27704991)

Either it is "free karma friday," or someone failed to google "Zoidberg molecule" and didn't know it was a joke.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (2, Interesting)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704553)

I'm not real sure of the implications, but after reading the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] , it seems that this kind of molecule may behave more like a single atom with two nuclei than a typical two-atom molecule. This may offer new confinement possibilities in fusion research, but I'm no physicist.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704615)

In the realm of subatomic physics, if you create a molecule that nobody else has ever seen before, than this is considered conclusive evidence that your penis is much bigger than that of all the other scientists. Hence the implication is that these scientists will score much more with all those nubile, hot young physics groupies. "Oh baby, show me your Bose-Einstein Condensate!"

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (1)

teknognome (910243) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705171)

Subatomic physics doesn't give a shit about molecules, cause they're bigger than atoms. Now if you discover a new subatomic particle, however...

Can you find what does not belong in this picture? (2, Funny)

rts008 (812749) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705267)

...all those nubile, hot young physics groupies...

Scientist: "Hah! well mine is 100 nanometers!, and can go on for up to 18 microseconds"

All those nubile, hot young physics groupies: "Ohhhh my! That is so large! And lasts so long!"

Scientist: "Now who's your Daddy?"

All those nubile, hot young physics groupies: *squeals of delight, desire, adulation, and one porcine*

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (2, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704619)

I'm sure, there's a Wikipedia article about it. If not... Well, to me it looks like a Bose-Einstein condensate, but made of two whole atoms.
For those condensates, they use pretty much the same technique.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27706367)

Wait, I thought if you shot a laser into a supercooled BEC you slowed down light? Though the setup seems pretty well the same.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (1)

d3l33t (1106803) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704643)

While the creation of the molecule in itself is amazing, it's the process in how they created it that's more profound.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27704857)

ha! nice phrasing from an obvious know nothing. do you work at best buy?

why don't you just include the word synergy next time so it will be a bit easier to detect that you're a complete tard.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (5, Informative)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705121)

I RTFA, but can someone more well-versed in Physics explain what sort of implications this has?

Not my field, but this is my sense of what's going on:

1) Rydberg atoms have one electron in a very high state of excitation, and look like Bohr-model atoms, as the highly-excited single outer electron is so far from the rest of the atom that the combination of the inner electrons and the nuclear charge look like a point-charge, so the outer electron experiences a 1/r potential. This makes Rydberg atoms theoretically tractable with simple Bohr theory, which is always fun to play with.

2) Rydberg molecules are make from a Rydberg atom and a normal (unexcited) atom. My guess is that the normal atom is actually inside the "orbit" of the Rydberg atom's outer electron, so it will be slightly polarized by the core field, and the resulting dipole will interact with the electron to produce the bound state. Sounds like a job for linear response theory.

3) In general, testing systems under such extreme conditions allows us to measure precisely various properties of matter, like the fine structure constant or the electric charge or whatever. I don't know if anything like that will come out of this, but extreme systems often allow for precise tests of esoteric phenomena.

4) Yes, this does validate quantum theory. No, it probably doesn't have much in they way of practical application, but then again, it doesn't have to.

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705273)

"This makes Rydberg atoms theoretically tractable with simple Bohr theory, which is always fun to play with."

Damn, i bet you were a riot on play dates!

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (4, Informative)

LatencyKills (1213908) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705499)

It's been something like 20 years, but I did Rydberg atom work (using Helium atoms) back in graduate school (another student was running the vacuum rig, and I was providing the lasers for excitation and containment). As the previous poster wrote, a Rydberg atom has a single electron up in an energy state so high that it is almost unrelated to the atom which (weakly) holds it. The creation of a Rydberg molecule allows for the confirmation of a number of quantum mechanical oddities - things that were predicted by theory but couldn't be measured in a lab. It can also allow some real insight into the nature of shared bonds between atoms in a molecule and studies of weak electromagnetic forces. The Rydberg atoms themselves allowed for interactions involving electrons that were essentially at a zero kinetic energy state, teetering on the edge of a relatively enormous potential well (which is why they tend to last such a short period of time before de-excitation to some lower state).

Re:What are the implications of this discovery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27705759)

I thought people have been doing spectroscopy of Rydberg states of molecules for nearly 2 decades now (possibly longer). What might be "new" about this is forming molecules out of an atom in a Rydberg state and a ground state atom, rather than taking a molecule and exciting it to a Rydberg state. Why that made the BBC news, I don't know, though it's better than the usual "science news" like "Unknown little company XYZ claims to invent process to turn water into gasoline, process will be perfected really soon."

created on earth for the first time... (2, Interesting)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704333)

... but if I remember it correctly, Rydberg molecules have been found in interstellar clouds where both matter density and temperature are very low compared to on-Earth laboratory environments. In space, they are not subjected to frequent interaction with other atoms, which could easily destroy their fragile Rydberg states.

Re:created on earth for the first time... (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704445)

really? who flew to an interstellar cloud to find them?

Re:created on earth for the first time... (1)

Akido37 (1473009) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704541)

really? who flew to an interstellar cloud to find them?

Don't you watch Star Trek: Voyager? No? You're better off.

Re:created on earth for the first time... (1)

hweimer (709734) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705667)

Nah. These are not simply highly excited molecular states (i.e., Rydberg states of molecules), but molecules formed by a novel binding mechanism between one highly excited Rydberg atom (not molecule) and a second ground state atom.

Error detected. Oblig End Piece missing. (4, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704341)

Error detected. All news stories of esoteric pure science experiments must conclude, "Spokesman for the lab, Dr Sor Eass, said that this phenomenon could lead to faster computers in the next five to ten years."

Re:Error detected. Oblig End Piece missing. (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705643)

No no, not faster computers. That's so last century. 200% more efficient solar panels. That's the ticket.

Taco a Homo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27704505)

yes

Slashdot Frost Posted For The Billionth Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27704603)

AC writes

"The WWW is reporting that this post has been formed from two atoms of frostidium. Proven in theory, this is the first time it's been created, reinforcing the fundamental quantum theories of Enrico Palonzo. Chris Rock, the theoretical comedian who first predicted that the frosty molecules could exist, said: 'The AC's post resembles a sheepdog that bangs its master by roaming speedily to the outermost periphery of the flock, and nudging back towards the centre of the owner's derriere.' It's a sheepdog with a very short life-span, however; the longest lived molecule only lasted 18 seconds. Vera BendmeOverkowsky, who led the research, explained how they created the molecule: 'The nuclei of the atoms have to be at the correct distance from each other for the electron fields to yadda yadda yadda. We use an ultracold cloud of frostidium -- as you cool it, the atoms in the flatulated gas move closer together. We excite the atoms to the AC stage with pictures of goatse man photoshopped into a picture of a naked and petrified Natalie Portman on the beach. If we have flatulence at the critical density, with two atoms at the correct distance that are able to form the molecule, and we excite one to the AC state, then we can form a molecule.'"

Eatable form (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27704629)

Yeah, these molecules are super short-lived. So to enjoy it better, you need to preserve it by baking into rye bread. Dark, marbled kind is the best. Lasts a week. I recommend roast beef with it.

Can't be done (4, Funny)

cwiegmann24 (1476667) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704711)

"Unimaginably cold temperatures are needed to create the molecules, as Vera Bendkowsky from the University of Stuttgart who led the research explained."

If you can't even imagine the cold temperatures, how can they get it cold enough? Shenanagins

Easy (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705087)

If you can't even imagine the cold temperatures, how can they get it cold enough?

They use the guy who totally lacks imagination to set it up. There's at least one in every lab...

You can do anything if you literal-minded enough and have someone to tell you what impossible thing to do. :-)

Re:Can't be done (4, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705261)

It's very easy to get unimaginably cold numbers, unless you are using Kelvins.

Say your temperature is -64 degrees.
Now take the square root of that.
What you have left is a temperature of 8i degrees.
So we have an imaginary temperature.
Now, to get an unimaginary cold temperature, you've got to start with a positive temperature that is cold.

So 4 degrees is cold; furthermore, it is unimaginary, since even if you take a square root you will not get an imaginary number.

There is no problem with that statement.

Re:Can't be done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27705505)

Oh I can imagine what Vera's nipples look like due to the cold temperatures.....

captcha: pointed

Lifespan (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704885)

It's a sheepdog with a very short life-span, however; the longest lived molecule only lasted 18 seconds[sic].

Man, that's just not fair. It was hard enough when my beagle only lived for 12 years. Now my wife will never want a pet Rydberg!

Basic facts about Rb_2 (5, Informative)

modrzej (1450687) | more than 4 years ago | (#27704975)

I've done a little research using Scholar (Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 2458 - 2461 (2000)) and it seems that basic facts about Rydberg molecules are: 1) These are molecules made of two atoms of the same kind, enormously separated (minima of potential curves for example at about 1500 atomic units); 2) Because of extremly shallow minima of energy curve in witch they exist, they are unstable, so must be ultra cold; 3) This Rb_2 molecule despite being homonuclear, displays large dipole moment, which is unusual but predicted by theory. The experiment with rubidium described here proves that approximate quantum theory (I bet that existence of this molecule was predicted using Born-Oppenheimer approximation) is capable of describing effects subtle as this one (existence of Rb_2 Rydberg molecule is subtle one). I'm not an expert in relativistic effects, but it seems to me that this example of extremely distant separation of atoms in molecule could call for relativistic treatment: one Rb atom doesn't know of the other at once, because the information about the movement of the other can't travel faster than light. This effect may be big because of separation of these two atoms.

Re:Basic facts about Rb_2 (1)

Option1 (572066) | more than 4 years ago | (#27705153)

My eyes glazed over trying to read that, but I'm pretty sure it was very interesting...

0 Kelvin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27705073)

Call me naive, but I predict all kinds of weird physics as one approach absolute zero.

AC

So this means what exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27705357)

they have confirmed a fundamental quantum theory that has been widely accepted, so now that they have proven the theory, this means....?

I get it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27705411)

"We excite the atoms to the Rydberg stage with a laser. If we have a gas at the critical density, with two atoms at the correct distance that are able to form the molecule, and we excite one to the Rydberg state, then we can form a molecule."

I get it - this is the first subatomic porn!

Thank god for tags. (1)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 4 years ago | (#27706535)

I read "18 seconds" and thought, that is a DAMN DAMN long time in terms of weird particle lifetimes go.

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