A synchrotron for neutral molecules

Jan 23, 2007

In the February issue of Nature Physics, Gerard Meijer and colleagues at the Fritz-Haber Institute, part of the Max Planck Society in Berlin, report the construction and operation of the first synchrotron for neutral molecules, unlike conventional synchrotrons that can only handle charged particles.

The device could open a new avenue for the study of collisions between molecules, promising unique insights into their physical properties and chemical reactions.

Synchrotrons are devices in which particles move in synchronized bunches in a circular path. They are widely used in high-energy particle physics — in dedicated centres such as CERN or Fermilab — to accelerate charged particles and make them collide. But the device of Meijer and colleagues — which has a circumference of just 81 centimetres — is the first synchrotron to work with electrically neutral particles.

The energies involved are extremely low; the molecules travel with velocities of the order of 100 metres per second, and have a temperature close to absolute zero — a regime of particular interest in the context of molecular physics and chemistry.

The control provided by the new device over the motion of neutral molecules, and the ability to collide bunches of them, could enable an array of experiments that have been not possible so far.

Citation: DOI: 10.1038/nphys513

Source: Nature

Explore further: New terahertz device could strengthen security

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientific instruments of Rosetta's Philae lander

Sep 23, 2014

When traveling to far off lands, one packs carefully. What you carry must be comprehensive but not so much that it is a burden. And once you arrive, you must be prepared to do something extraordinary to make ...

Cassini sees Titan cooking up smog

Feb 05, 2013

(Phys.org)—A paper published this week using data from NASA's Cassini mission describes in more detail than ever before how aerosols in the highest part of the atmosphere are kick-started at Saturn's moon ...

Recommended for you

New terahertz device could strengthen security

Nov 21, 2014

We are all familiar with the hassles that accompany air travel. We shuffle through long lines, remove our shoes, and carry liquids in regulation-sized tubes. And even after all the effort, we still wonder if these procedures ...

CERN makes public first data of LHC experiments

Nov 21, 2014

CERN today launched its Open Data Portal where data from real collision events, produced by experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will for the first time be made openly available to all. It is expected ...

New technique allows ultrasound to penetrate bone, metal

Nov 20, 2014

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a technique that allows ultrasound to penetrate bone or metal, using customized structures that offset the distortion usually caused by these ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.