Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ultracold measurements reveal shape of the electron - physics-math - 25 May 2011 - New Scientist

Ultracold measurements reveal shape of the electron: They used ultracold molecules of ytterbium fluoride in which the centres of positive and negative charge differ, creating a dipole. The shape of this dipole reflects the asymmetry of the electron shape, and the team measured this by placing the molecules in an electric and a magnetic field and observing how they spin as the fields are changed. Variations in the rate of spin reveal any asymmetry. Their experiment measured the shape to within a few parts in 1018 but as far as they could tell, rather than being oval, the electron is spherical...

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