The first direct observation of the orbital structure of an excited hydrogen atom has been made by an international team of researchers. The observation was made using a newly developed “quantum microscope”, which uses photoionization microscopy to visualize the structure directly. The team’s demonstration proves that “photoionization microscopy”, which was first proposed more than 30 years ago, can be experimentally realized and can serve as a tool to explore the subtleties of quantum mechanics….
The wavefunction is a central tenet of quantum theory — put simply, it contains the maximum knowledge that is available about the state of a quantum system. More specifically, the wavefunction is the solution to the Schrââdinger equation. The square of the wavefunction describes the probability of where exactly a particle might be located at a given time. Although it features prominently in quantum theory, directly measuring or observing the wavefunction is no easy task, as any direct observation destroys the wavefunction before it can be fully observed.
In the past, “Rydberg wavepacket” experiments have tried to observe the wavefunction using ultrafast laser pulses. In these experiments, the atoms are in a superposition of their highly excited “Rydberg states”. These experiments show that the periodic electron orbitals around nuclei are described by coherent superpositions of quantum-mechanical stationary states. The wavefunction of each of these states is a standing wave with a nodal pattern (a “node” is where there is zero probability of finding an electron) that reflects the quantum numbers of the state. While previous experiments have attempted to capture the elusive wavefunction or the nodal patterns, the methods used were not successful. Direct observation of the nodal structure of a single atom being most difficult to achieve…
I don’t often think about a hydrogen atom, but I believe that without them I could not think, because, among other reasons, hydrogen bonds are extremely important in the forming of the secondary structure of proteins.
Next to water, protein makes up most of the weight of our bodies. Muscles, organs, hair, nails and ligaments are all composed of protein, so it’s obvious why protein is an important part of the diet.
But it gets more complex with the brain. The brain and its long spidery neurons are essentially made of fat, but they communicate with each other via proteins that we eat. The hormones and enzymes that cause chemical changes and control all body processes are made of proteins.