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New “brilliant” technique for studying the elements of overheating



Superhero elements

Laser chromatography will initially be used to investigate lawrencium, element 103. Credit: Mustapha Laatiaoui

Fusion methodologies of physics and chemistry for optical spectroscopy of overheating elements.

The elements of the superhero are intriguing nuclear and atomic quantum systems that challenge the experimental test as they do not occur in nature and, when synthesized, fade away in a matter of seconds. Driving forward atomic physics research toward these elements requires advances toward rapid atomic spectroscopy techniques with extreme sensitivity. A joint effort within the European Union̵

7;s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and led by Dr. Mustapha Laatiaoui of Johannes Gutenberg Mainz University (JGU) culminated in a proposal for optical spectroscopy: so-called laser resonance chromatography ( LRC) should allow such research even production quantities per minute The proposal has recently been published in two articles in Physical review letters i Physical check A.

The overheating elements (SHE) are located at the bottom of the periodic table of elements. They represent fertile ground for the development of understanding of how these exotic atoms can exist and function when a large number of electrons join in atonic shells and protons and neutrons in the nucleus. Information about its electron structure can be obtained from optical spectroscopy experiments that reveal element-specific emission spectra. These spectra are powerful benchmarks for modern calculations of the atomic model and can be useful, for example, when it comes to looking for traces of even heavier elements, which could be created in neutron star fusion events.

The LRC approach combines different methods

Although SHEs have been discovered decades ago, their research using optical spectroscopy tools is far behind synthesis. This is because they occur at very low rates, at which traditional methods simply do not work. So far, optical spectroscopy ends at nobelium, element 102 of the periodic table. “Current techniques are at the limit of what is feasible,” Laatiaoui explained. From the next heaviest element, the physicochemical properties change abruptly and prevent providing samples in suitable atomic states. “

Laser resonance chromatography

Laser resonance chromatography is based on optical ion excitations and subsequent detection of their arrival at the detector. Credit: Mustapha Laatiaoui

Together with fellow researchers, the physicist has therefore developed the new LRC approach in optical spectroscopy. This combines the selectivity of the elements and the spectral accuracy of laser spectroscopy with ion mobility mass spectrometry and combines the benefits of high sensitivity with the “simplicity” of the optical probe as in induced fluorescence spectroscopy. by laser. His key idea is to detect the products of resonant optical excitations not based on fluorescent light as usual, but based on their characteristic drift time to a particle detector.

In their theoretical work, the researchers focused on the single-charged lawrencium, element 103, and its lighter counterpart. But the concept offers unparalleled access to laser spectroscopy of many other monoatomic ions in the periodic table, particularly transition metals, including high-temperature refractory metals and elements beyond the lichen. Other ionic species such as the double-charged uncle will also be within reach of the LRC approach. In addition, the method allows to optimize the signal-to-noise relationships and thus facilitate the spectrometry of ionic mobility, ionic chemistry selected by the state and other applications.

Dr. Mustapha Laatiaoui came to Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and the Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM) in February 2018. At the end of 2018, he received an ERC Consolidator Fellowship from the European Research Council (ERC), one of the most valuable European Union funding grants, for its research on heavier items using laser spectroscopy and ion mobility spectroscopy. Current publications also include work previously done by Laatiaoui at GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt and at KU Leuven in Belgium.

References:

“Laser Resonance Chromatography of Superhero Elements” by Mustapha Laatiaoui, Alexei A. Buchachenko, and Larry A. Viehland, July 10, 2020, Physical review letters.
DOI: 10.1103 / PhysRevLett.125.023002

“Exploitation of Transport Properties for the Detection of Optical Pumps in Heavy Ions” by Mustapha Laatiaoui, Alexei A. Buchachenko, and Larry A. Viehland, July 10, 2020, Physical check A.
DOI: 10.1103 / PhysRevA.102.013106

This work was carried out in cooperation with Alexei A. Buchachenko of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology and the Institute of Problems of Chemical Physics, both in Moscow, Russia, and Larry A. Viehland of the University of Chatham, Pittsburgh , USA.




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