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L'ombra di un atomo 28.02.13

L'ombra di un atomo

Gli scienziati della Griffith University, in Australia, sotto la guida di Dave Kielpinski hanno fotografato per la prima volta l'ombra di un atomo di itterbio.

The pioneering shutterbugs used an electrical field to suspend a charged atom, or ion, of the element ytterbium in a vacuum chamber. They then shot a laser beam--about a thousand times wider than the atom--at the ytterbium.

The ytterbium atom absorbed a tiny portion of the light, and the resulting shadow was magnified by a lens attached to a microscope, then recorded via a digital camera sensor.

The team used ytterbium because they knew they could create lasers of the right color to be strongly absorbed by the element.