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Charged particle oscillation

  1. May 29, 2006 #1
    can one harness the energy from a charged partical violently oscillating in a confined space.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 29, 2006 #2


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    I am not sure what you have in mind, but alternating current (ordinary electric current) is exactly what you describe.
  4. May 29, 2006 #3
    what i'm trying to say is that if an electron, for example, were confined inside a really really small, superconducting, sphericle shell, lets say the diameter of two atoms, would that electron oscillate inside forever and, if so, would it be possible to harness that energy?
  5. May 30, 2006 #4


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    Without trying to address your specific example, conservation of energy will hold. If you try to harness the energy of the oscillating electrons, they will slow down. Ordinary AC works that way.
  6. May 30, 2006 #5
    but the elctron couldn't slow down to absolute zero (where no more energy could be extracted) because then it would be stationary.
  7. May 31, 2006 #6


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    When electrons lose energy within atoms, they can do so only in quantum jumps ending at the lowest possible level. Within an atom, the particle picture of electrons is no longer applicable - you can only talk about states. "Stationary" has no meaning in this case.

    Free electrons can be treated essentially as particles, although diffraction effects (wave property) still occur.
  8. May 31, 2006 #7

    IF I am reading your above statement correctly, you may be confusing something here.
    Electrons going "around" a superconducting ring or shell are not oscillating.
    Oscillation, roughly speaking, is when the electron is forced to reverse its direction of travel, and then reverse again, and so on. This cyclic reversal requires the application of additional energy since electrons have mass.
    During this reversal process, an electron can emit an electromagnetic photon. This energy can, of course, be "tapped", but the conversion will yield an output less than the energy required to achieve the oscillations.

    Perhaps let me put this another way to make it crystal clear:
    If you introduce a DC current into a superconducting ring, the DC current will go around and around, but the electrons are NOT oscillating.
    Now if you introduce an AC current(in which the electrons ARE oscillating) into a superconducting ring and cut-off the AC supply, the electrons will quickly diminsh into a non-oscillatory state.

    That's how I understand it anyway.
  9. May 31, 2006 #8
    when i say confinded i don't mean inside the superconducting material, as what im getting from your explanation, but i mean surrounded by the superconducting material like a shell. all that is withing the superconducting shell is a vacume and a single electron. now, i may be wrong, since the shell is superconductive it will contain the electron and that contained electron will never come to an absolute state of rest at the center of the shell. this is what i'm trying to clarify: am i correct in thinking that the electron will not come to a halt at the center of the shell
  10. May 31, 2006 #9
    OK, well, a superconducting "shell" in your latest context will not "contain" or restrain an electron in a void, vacuum center unless other electrons are flowing through the "shell" to effect a containment field.

    Think about it this way: What would stop the lone electron from colliding with the wall of the sphere? I assume you believe that superconducting materials have some special properties in this regards. That is incorrect. Superconducting materials do NOT generate "containment" fields by themselves.
  11. May 31, 2006 #10


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    chromosome : very little of all this makes any physical sense.

    Whatever the scenario, energy conservation must hold. If the electron isn't losing any energy, then there's no energy to be had. If you're harnessing energy from the electron, it must be losing energy. You can't have both the energy from the electron and the energetic electron.
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