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Helium atoms get the ride of their life


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Wien Ee

    Wien Ee


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Geplaatst op 02 november 2009 - 19:09

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the deflection of neutral helium atoms after interaction with a focused laser beam


To the adrenaline junkie midway through a bungee jump, gravity must feel like it can accelerate matter at a spectacular rate. At the atomic scale, however, when it comes to shifting around neutral particles, gravity is incredibly ineffective compared with other fundamental interactions such as the strong and weak nuclear forces.
Now, however, a team of physicists has shown that a little-known interaction caused by electric fields known as the "ponderomotive" force can accelerate neutral particles at up to 1014 times the Earth's gravitational acceleration. As well as being of interest to fundamental physics, this ability to transfer large amounts of momentum to neutral particles could lead to a host of novel applications in surface science, say the researchers.


Lees meer ... Physicsworld
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