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Science News

Rydberg Molecule Created For the First Time 127

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the not-around-long-enough-for-a-group-photo dept.
krou writes "The BBC is reporting that the Rydberg molecule has been formed from two atoms of rubidium. Proven in theory, this is the first time it's been created, reinforcing the fundamental quantum theories of Enrico Fermi. Chris Greene, the theoretical physicist who first predicted that the Rydberg molecules could exist, said: 'The Rydberg electron resembles a sheepdog that keeps its flock together by roaming speedily to the outermost periphery of the flock, and nudging back towards the centre any member that might begin to drift away.' It's a sheepdog with a very short life-span, however; the longest lived molecule only lasted 18 microseconds. Vera Bendkowsky, who led the research, explained how they created the molecule: 'The nuclei of the atoms have to be at the correct distance from each other for the electron fields to find each other and interact. We use an ultracold cloud of rubidium — as you cool it, the atoms in the gas move closer together. We excite the atoms to the Rydberg stage with a laser. If we have a gas at the critical density, with two atoms at the correct distance that are able to form the molecule, and we excite one to the Rydberg state, then we can form a molecule.'"
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Rydberg Molecule Created For the First Time

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