Theoretical Molecule Developed in Laboratory
Thu, April 23, 2009 (03:34 PM)
from BBC News
A molecule that until now existed only in theory has finally been made.
Known as a Rydberg molecule, it is formed through an elusive and extremely weak chemical bond between two atoms.
The new type of bonding, reported in Nature, occurs because one of the two atoms in the molecule has an electron very far from its nucleus or center.
It reinforces fundamental quantum theories, developed by Nobel prize-winning physicist Enrico Fermi, about how electrons behave and interact.
The Rydberg molecules in question were formed from two atoms of rubidium - one a Rydberg atom, and one a "normal" atom. The movement and position of electrons within an atom can be described as orbiting around a central nucleus - with each shell of orbiting electrons further from the center.