An international research team led by the University of Cologne has succeeded for the first time in connecting several atomically precise nanoribbons made of graphene, a modification of carbon, to form complex structures. The scientists have synthesized and spectroscopically characterized n ... more
Classic double-slit experiment in a new light
New X-ray spectroscopy method based on the classical double-slit experiment
An international research team led by physicists from Collaborative Research Centre 1238, 'Control and Dynamics of Quantum Materials' at the University of Cologne has implemented a new variant of the basic double-slit experiment using resonant inelastic X-ray scattering at the European Synchrotron ESRF in Grenoble. This new variant offers a deeper understanding of the electronic structure of solids.
The double-slit experiment is of fundamental importance in physics. More than 200 years ago, Thomas Young diffracted light at two adjacent slits, thus generating interference patterns (images based on superposition) behind this double slit. That way, he demonstrated the wave character of light. In the 20th century, scientists have shown that electrons or molecules scattered on a double slit show the same interference pattern, which contradicts the classical expectation of particle behaviour, but can be explained in quantum-mechanical wave-particle dualism. In contrast, the researchers in Cologne investigated an iridium oxide crystal (Ba3CeIr2O9) by means of resonant inelastic X-ray scattering (RIXS).
The crystal is irradiated with strongly collimated, high-energy X-ray photons. The X-rays are scattered by the iridium atoms in the crystal, which take over the role of the slits in Young's classical experiment. Due to the rapid technical development of RIXS and a skilful choice of crystal structure, the physicists were now able to observe the scattering on two adjacent iridium atoms, a so-called dimer.
'The interference pattern tells us a lot about the scattering object, the dimer double slit', says Professor Markus Grueninger, who heads the research group at the University of Cologne. In contrast to the classical double-slit experiment, the inelastically scattered X-ray photons provide information about the excited states of the dimer, in particular their symmetry, and thus about the dynamic physical properties of the solid.
These RIXS experiments require a modern synchrotron as an extremely brilliant X-ray light source and a sophisticated experimental setup. To specifically excite only the iridium atoms, scientists have to select the very small proportion of photons with the right energy from the broad spectrum of the synchrotron, and the scattered photons are selected even more strictly according to energy and direction of scattering. Only a few photons remain. With the required accuracy, these RIXS experiments are currently only possible at two synchrotrons worldwide, including the ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility) in Grenoble, where the team from Cologne conducted their experiment.
'With our RIXS experiment, we were able to prove a fundamental theoretical prediction from 1994. This opens a new door for a whole series of further experiments that will allow us to gain a deeper understanding of the properties and functionalities of solids', says Grueninger.
- x-ray spectroscopy
- crystal structures
A team of scientists from the University of Cologne (Germany) and the University of Uppsala (Sweden) has created a model that can describe and predict the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Resistance to antibiotics evolves through a variety of mechanisms. A central and still u ... more
Using the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans, researchers at the University of Cologne have developed an ‘aging clock’ that reads the biological age of an organism directly from its gene expression, the transcriptome. Bioinformatician David Meyer and geneticist Professor Dr Björn Schumac ... more
- 1Detect neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's by a simple eye scan?
- 2Fluorescence microscopy at highest spatial and temporal resolution
- 3The Mechanics of the Immune System
- 4Resolve Biosciences Launches New Era in Single-Cell Spatial Analysis
- 5Quick look under the skin
- 6New ion trap to create the world's most accurate mass spectrometer
- 7How does your computer smell?
- 8Clocking electron movements inside an atom
- 9Sartorius closes 2020 with strong growth
- 10A clear path to better insights into biomolecules