HomePhysicsHelium nanodroplets splash like water upon surface

Helium nanodroplets splash like water upon surface

Department of Ion Physics and Applied Physics scientists have come across a surprising phenomenon while working with helium nanodroplets. Ultracold droplets hit a hard surface and behaved like drops of water. It was previously doped with Ions and the impacts are not neutralized.

Paul Scheier and his team have done the research. Scientists have used helium nanodroplets to study ions. They have used the method of mass spectrometry for around 15 years. They have used a supersonic nozzle to produce superfluid helium nanodroplets with less than one degree Kelvin temperatures.

Scientists can drop this temperature with atoms and molecules. In ionized droplets, the particles are attached to the charges. Then they measured the mass spectrometer. The scientists now have arrived to an interesting phenomenon. They have described this in their research paper published in Physical Review Letters.

The surprising phenomenon

Particles are neutralized by free electrons on the metal surface as they are fired at a metal plate. They we do not need mass spectrometer to measure it. Ions are packed in a “helium nanodroplet” and they remain protected on impact. They also fly off in all directions with a few weakly bound helium atoms.

Another reason can be the first droplets evaporate at the surface. It has formed a layer of gas that slows down subsequent droplets. This way it protects them from evaporation. Further investigation has shown that one of these explanations is correct. There are also other reasons. This method also works with negative ions. These are very fragile. This has given scientists hint about a previously unknown phenomenon.

Nanotechnology benefits

With this discovery, scientists have also improved their own measurement method. They have also gained insight about other research groups that deal with the deposition of “nanoparticles” on surfaces.


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