Engineering News

Super Atoms May Revise The Periodic Table
Monday, July 07, 2008

Dutch scientists say they've developed a technique for generating atom clusters made from silver and other metals, opening a new branch of chemistry.

Delft University of Technology Professor Andreas Schmidt-Ott and researcher Christian Peineke said if a silver thread is heated to approximately 900 degrees Celsius, it will generate vapor consisting of silver atoms. The scientists managed to collect the super atoms and make them suitable for more detailed chemical experiments.

The super atoms give the periodic table a kind of third dimension, said Schmidt-Ott: "The chemical properties of the super atoms that have been identified up until now are very similar to those of elements in the periodic table, because their outer layers are much the same. However, we may yet discover super atoms with a different outer layer, giving us another set of completely new properties."

Schmidt-Ott said he hopes to find atom clusters with new unique magnetic, optical or electrical properties, which would also be stable enough to create crystals or other solid forms. Potential applications include catalysts in fuel and extra-conductive crystals.

Source: United Press International

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