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ANU successfuly measures the excited state of helium atoms

By johnboy - 10 July 2009 5

ANU’s boffins are very excited to have successfully clocked helium atoms staying excited for over 8,000 seconds.

    “It’s this kind of ionized gas, or plasma, that’s inside the compact fluorescent light bulbs and other fluorescent lights around your house. It’s of fundamental interest to us to know exactly how long metastable atoms remain excited, but it also has implications for how we design better lighting systems in future.”

    Professor Baldwin said that there has been just one earlier attempt by scientists to measure the duration of the helium atom’s excited state, and it had not been very accurate.

    To rectify this, the ANU team used lasers to control and isolate a cloud of metastable helium atoms from their surrounding environment. The scientists were then able to measure the rate at which the atoms emitted ultraviolet photons to revert back to their normal, stable state.

Readers will be pleased to hear that the timing has also confirmed the long standing theory of quantum electrodynamics, which will come as a relief to many of you I’m sure.

What’s Your opinion?


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5 Responses to
ANU successfuly measures the excited state of helium atoms
Ozi 10:50 pm 10 Jul 09

I’m pretty relieved, it must be said. The possibility that Quantum Electrodynamics may have been a farce was keeping me up at nights: cold sweats, bad dreams, things of that ilk…

monomania 6:14 pm 10 Jul 09

GB said :

This is great news — its not very often that excited atom research can draw such an obvious link to practical applications.

Also, every time another study confirms quantum electrodynamics, its a poke in the eye for common sense. Common sense doesn’t help at all with quantum stuff.

Hurrah for scientists who can suspend common sense and discover new stuff.

+1

An achievement that doesn’t deserve being trivialised.

A long journey is made up of many steps.

astrojax 5:39 pm 10 Jul 09

have to be, unless golf gets an olympic guernsey before exciting particles becomes the next sport admitted…

Holden Caulfield 4:58 pm 10 Jul 09

Are they a medal charnce for London 2012?

GB 2:21 pm 10 Jul 09

This is great news — its not very often that excited atom research can draw such an obvious link to practical applications.

Also, every time another study confirms quantum electrodynamics, its a poke in the eye for common sense. Common sense doesn’t help at all with quantum stuff. Hurrah for scientists who can suspend common sense and discover new stuff.

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