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Attosecond Spectroscopy, QM, and Atomic Geometry

  1. Oct 11, 2009 #1
    All of my questions that follow revolve around the question of atomic geometry/structure as it relates to quantum mechanics.

    On every high resolution (1 angstrom, and a few less than 1 angstrom) TEM image I have seen, atoms appear as spheres. I then found a website that claims it has visualized transits of electrons.[1] The same website even has a related video that shows what is claimed to be electron orbitals, which show an animated, temporally dilated snapshot of electron orbits as concentric rings.[2] The imaged atom in question was supposed to be a krypton atom.

    My driving question is: What is the exact physical real-life structure of an atom?
    The finite points of the question are:
    • Is the spherical image of an atom seen in TEM the result of superposition? Or,
    • ... is it the result of electron(s) moving faster than the measuring TEM can differentiate temporally (like motion blur with a camera)?
    • The concentric rings of the imaged atom in the animated experiment have a specific thickness that can be seen. Does this imply a radius or volume to the otherwise point particle electron?
    • Can someone explain why the animation is in concentric rings and not as pixellated vertices or arcs?
    • They claim their method is faster than the transit of a single electron around the nucleus, yet in the image it shows up as a ring, why?
    • Their statements imply that the electron is a particle; what is the electron? A field? A wavelet? A concentric string/ring/shape? A cloud? Or is it a discrete particle as they imply?
    • Aren't they, in actuality, creating controlled interference between a photon and electron wave and using a second photon wave to sample the divergent wave and labeling the attosecond sample as a particle?


    1. http://www.attoworld.de/attoworld/slowmotion.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 11, 2009 #2


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  4. Oct 12, 2009 #3
    That article contradicts the first one I posted. Additionally this uses FEEM, which is not the same as attosecond spectroscopy, which produces a different result.

    There also has not been an explanation as to why TEM and FEEM produce a spheroid cloud and another imaging technique does not. Its funny that you brought this picture up; because, I was going to include it as part of my question.

    "For the first time, physicists have photographed the structure of an atom down to its electrons." (Sept. 16th, 2009) Inside Science News Service [1]


    "For the first time, scientists have measured the motion of electrons deep inside an atom, in this case krypton." (Oct. 29th, 2002) New York Times. [2]

    Regardless of this apparent discrepancy in images and statements, my previous questions still stand. Therefor, by my research I am not out of date, but have found conflicting information and found apparently competing imagery of the atomic structure. I do not have a preference for either one, but I would like to know what the true structure of the atom is. Scientists deal with concepts and reports that are much older than 7 years, all the time; I wouldn't consider the report from 2002 to be out of date, especially since the 2009 report images the cloud and not the individual electron transit: If it isn't new, it isn't new, it wasn't even the same type of technology.

    This is a very bold statement, and is a bit of platitude:

    "The Kharkov researchers are the first to produce real images of the electrons of a single atom, making the predictions of quantum mechanics visible."[1]

    My translation of that truism: "produced a visible image of widely held orbital theory, for a carbon atom." This image alone does not prove all the predictions of quantum mechanics and it wasn't the first attempt nor image of an electron transit.

    All of my original questions still apply.

    1.http://insidescience.org/research/first_detailed_photos_of_atoms [Broken]
    2. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/29/s...-fast-camera-captures-action-around-atom.html
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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