Bringing Ions TogetherCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: March 29, 2012 02:14PM
Researchers at Ruhr-University Bochum have made an interesting discovery with quantum plasmas. Any plasma is a gas made of positively charged ions and non-degenerate electrons, but quantum plasma exists at a very small scale, where quantum mechanics is the dominant physics. Quantum plasma can also have very low temperatures, while its density is extremely high.
What the researchers discovered is a way to get the ions within quantum plasma to form a tight crystal structure. The structure is so tight in fact that it is on the same scale as an individual atom. The charged nature of plasma means it will conduct electricity, and by bringing the ions closer like this, electricity can be conducted much faster. This was accomplished by passing a negatively charged potential through the plasma.
Though it may be some time before this effect can be used in actual products, it may affect microchips for quantum computers as well as semiconductors, thin metal foils, and metallic nanostructures. Even more technologies may be affected as this research exists at a crossroads of several disciplines in physics.