Navigation Links
Cold atoms and nanotubes come together in an atomic 'black hole'
Date:4/6/2010

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 6, 2010 -- Carbon nanotubes, long touted for applications in materials and electronics, may also be the stuff of atomic-scale black holes.

Physicists at Harvard University have found that a high-voltage nanotube can cause cold atoms to spiral inward under dramatic acceleration before disintegrating violently. Their experiments, the first to demonstrate something akin to a black hole at atomic scale, are described in the current issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.

"On a scale of nanometers, we create an inexorable and destructive pull similar to what black holes exert on matter at cosmic scales," says Lene Vestergaard Hau, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and of Applied Physics at Harvard. "As importantly for scientists, this is the first merging of cold-atom and nanoscale science, and it opens the door to a new generation of cold atom experiments and nanoscale devices."

Hau and co-authors Anne Goodsell, Trygve Ristroph, and Jene A. Golovchenko laser-cooled clouds of one million rubidium atoms to just a fraction of a degree above absolute zero. The physicists then launched this millimeter-long atomic cloud towards a suspended carbon nanotube, located some two centimeters away and charged to hundreds of volts.

The vast majority of the atoms passed right by the wire, but those that came within a micron of it -- roughly 10 atoms in every million-atom cloud -- were inescapably attracted, reaching high speeds as they spiraled toward the nanotube.

"From a start at about 5 meters per second, the cold atoms reach speeds of roughly 1,200 meters per second, or more than 2,700 miles per hour, as they circle the nanotube," says Goodsell, a graduate student on the project and now a postdoctoral researcher in physics at Harvard. "As part of this tremendous acceleration, the temperature corresponding to the atoms' kinetic energy increases from 0.1 degrees Kelvin to thousands of degrees Kelvin in less than a microsecond."

At this point, the speeding atoms separate into an electron and an ion rotating in parallel around the nanowire, completing each orbit in just a few trillionths of a second. The electron eventually gets sucked into the nanotube via quantum tunneling, causing its companion ion to shoot away -- repelled by the strong charge of the 300-volt nanotube -- at a speed of roughly 26 kilometers per second, or 59,000 miles per hour.

The entire experiment was conducted with great precision, allowing the scientists unprecedented access to both cold-atom and nanoscale processes.

"Cold-atom and nanoscale science have each provided exciting new systems for study and applications," says Golovchenko, Rumford Professor of Physics and Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics at Harvard. "This is the first experimental realization of a combined cold atom-nanostructure system. Our system demonstrates sensitive probing of atom, electron, and ion dynamics at the nanoscale."

The single-walled carbon nanotube used in these researchers' successful experiment was dubbed "Lucy," and its contributions are acknowledged in the Physical Review Letters paper. The nanotube was grown by chemical vapor deposition across a 10-micron gap in a silicon chip that provides the nanowire with both mechanical support and electrical contact.

"From the atom's point of view, the nanotube is infinitely long and thin, creating a singular effect on the atom," Hau says.


'/>"/>

Contact: Steve Bradt
steve_bradt@harvard.edu
617-496-8070
Harvard University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology technology :

1. Physicists pin down spin of surface atoms
2. Sheet of carbon atoms acts like a billiard table, physicists find
3. Sheet of carbon atoms acts like a billiard table, physicists find
4. Stopping atoms
5. Bon MOT: Innovative atom trap catches highly magnetic atoms
6. Memory in artificial atoms
7. Cold atoms could replace hot gallium in focused ion beams
8. Ancient diatoms lead to new technology for solar energy
9. The sensitive side of carbon nanotubes: Creating powerful pressure sensors
10. Understanding of actuator properties of carbon nanotubes bring micro machines closer
11. Improved wettability of carbon nanotubes opens the door to new possibilities
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Cold atoms and nanotubes come together in an atomic 'black hole'
(Date:3/27/2017)... DUBLIN , March 27, 2017 ... access to a comprehensive library of reports on Valero ... the transportation fuels and petrochemical industries. ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160330/349511LOGO) ... is biofuel production to go green. Ethanol today, even though ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... Israel , March 27, 2017 DarioHealth ... with mobile health and big data solutions, today announced ... party insurance coverage option for U.S. consumers who want ... DarioHealth has signed strategic alliance agreements with ... verify insurance coverage benefits, and if approved, will supply ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 2017 Research and Markets has announced the ... Global Strategic Business Report" report to their offering. ... This report analyzes the ... Million. Annual estimates and forecasts are provided for the period 2014 ... secondary research. The report profiles 25 companies including ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 Agenus Inc. (NASDAQ: AGEN), an ... and cancer vaccines, today announced participation at the following ... William Blair and Maidstone Life Sciences conference "Cancer Immunotherapy ... New York, NY . Agenus will ... at 9:40 am: Robert B. Stein , M.D., ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/20/2017)... At this year,s CeBIT Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel visited the ... the DERMALOG stand together with the Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe. ... largest German biometrics company the two government leaders could see the three ... as DERMALOGĀ“s multi-biometrics system.   Continue Reading ... ...
(Date:3/16/2017)... CeBIT 2017 - Against identity fraud with DERMALOG solutions "Made in Germany ... ... in one project, multi-biometric solutions provide a crucial contribution against identity fraud. (PRNewsFoto/Dermalog Identification Systems) ... Used combined in one project, multi-biometric solutions provide a crucial ... ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... Australia , March 9, 2017 4Dx ... prestigious World Lung Imaging Workshop at the University of ... was invited to deliver the latest data to world ... recognised event brings together leaders at the forefront of ... in lung imaging. "The quality of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):