Home News Weak new atomic bonds discovered by scientists

Weak new atomic bonds discovered by scientists

Atoms react and bond in some ways, and this includes covalent bonds, coordinate bonds, coordinate covalent bonds, etc. However, physicists have observed an isolated molecule which they have named Rydberg molecule. It was a weak pairing of highly excitable atoms and was first predicted way back in 2002.

The discovery has confirmed what a hypothesis was made 14 years ago. It also establishes a whole new type of atomic bonds. These molecules are created when an electron is kicked far away from the atom’s nucleus and turn them into super electronically excited molecules.

Such types of bonding are common but in 2002 researchers from the Purdue University reasoned that a Rydberg molecule could attach itself to another atom. It was something which was thought as impossible as per the understanding of how atoms bind at that time.

The hypothetical molecule combination was also known as butterfly Rydberg molecule after its butterfly-like distribution of the orbiting electrons. The hypothesis has now been confirmed after nearly 14 years, and it also led to the discovery of a whole new type of weak atomic bonding.

It will add one more chapter to the types of atomic bonding in chemistry. It is an entirely new way in which an atom can be bound to another atom. The electrons in the Rydberg molecules are 100 to 1000 times further from the nucleus than normal.

The team was able to create the molecules by super cooling Rubidium gas to temperatures which were a fraction above absolute Zero. Then the atoms in the Rydberg stage were excited using lasers. The Rydberg molecules were then closely monitored to check if they interacted with other atoms. Their efforts were rewarded, and they were able to confirm that a binding has occurred and this was upheld by the changes in the frequency of light the molecules absorbed.