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Super Atoms, revise the periodic table?

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posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 05:45 PM

A new 'class' of materials has been formed, which consist of clusters of atoms that behave as single atoms of another element, yet still retain the same number of protons and electrons as the elements they came from. Aluminum was the first element to be studied because of its abundance and uses:

"The research theoretically and experimentally examined the chemical properties, electronic structure, and geometry of Al clusters in chemical compounds containing iodine (I) atoms. The basis of this focus was experimental evidence indicating the existence of a very stable cluster anion—Al13I—produced in the gasphase reaction of Al clusters with hydrogen iodine gas (see Figure 1). Mass spectrometric analysis revealed that the reaction produced relatively few products, the most prevalent of which corresponded to anion Al13I."

"Further, energy calculations to determine the bonding mechanism existing between the Al cluster and the iodine atom confirmed that the extra electron is localized on the Al13 cluster, indicating that the cluster maintains its integrity throughout the reaction and thus behaves like a single iodine atom. Scientists actually consider the Al13I cluster anion a super halogen, because it displays a greater electron affinity than iodine atoms."

"To further promote the concept of manipulating Al-I clusters to form super atoms with unique properties, Dr. Khanna and his colleagues subsequently created Al14I anion clusters and found that the resulting super atoms behaved like alkaline earth metals, such as beryllium, magnesium, barium, radium, and strontium. “Ideally, we could create a whole series of clusters—a three-dimensional periodic table, not of elements but rather of clusters that simulate the properties of the elements,” Dr. Khanna said. The goal is to use these clusters as building blocks to tailor the design and ultimate formation of future nanoscale materials with selected properties. Dr. Khanna’s team intends to expand its work to create super atoms using metals other than Al."

I'm not sure how many of you will find this interesting, but it's really a major discovery and will have a gigantic impact on materials science and engineering. Already some applications have been found. Aluminum13 clusters can be used to supercharge rocket fuel, and are better than regular aluminum because they don't oxidize even the least amount. A cluster of Aluminum14 may be used as a lighter and more efficient conducting material.

posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 06:55 PM
I really don't have much to say... that's just freakin kewl!!! I wonder if they could somehow use these super-atoms to synthesize more potent foodstuffs... or even better to make something like in startrek where you order something to eat and it atomically assembles it in the wall slot. I'm not a trekky... anyone know what that thing was called?

Another application I'd like to see is a new possible mechanism for movement around our earth... maybe from a petroleum replacement for internal combustion to maybe just a new form of propulsion... maybe just better electric motors and better storage cells... who knows.

posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 07:33 PM
Very interesting find. There are a lot of possibilities to explore with this discovery. Who knows what kind of properties some of these 'super atoms' may have? We won't know until we create them. I'm all in favor of tons of research funding in this area, and will follow this development with great interest.

I don't really like the articles use of the term 'super atom' though. It doesn't seem completely accurate to me. Since the 'super atom' is built out of numerous regular atoms, what we actually have is some type of new compound, not a new element, analogous to how fullerenes and nanotubes are not a new type of atom, but merely a new arrangement of carbon.

posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 07:35 PM
haha, thank you Earthscum! This is a very new discovery, so I don't yet know what superatoms are capable of. I've read that they will have a WIDE variety of uses, but how many and for what uses I'm not sure.

As for assembling foods, won't that'll solve the obesity epidemic!
. The last thing we need are people with those windows next to their mouths ordering a big fat Whopper or something! But honestly, we'll have to advance our ability of using teleportation before that happens. Right now we can teleport a photon (by teleport I mean a photon can be in two places at the same time), but the problem with that is the amount of energy needed to make even the smallest of visible objects be in two places at the same time is huge! For an interesting piece of knowledge...humans can teleport. However the distances are so small that they are immeasurable, and we are only in two places at the same time for one trillionth of a trillionth of a second.

[edit on 28-6-2005 by zhangmaster]

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