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What happens when you remove an excessive amount of electrons.

  1. Nov 23, 2014 #1
    Lets take a simple water molecule for example. You can use the photoelectric effect to remove electrons from a molecule. As a thought experiment, lets say you have a contained single water molecule in a vacuum with no impurities. Perfect Vacuum. If you use the Photoelectric effect and beam specifically wave-legthed photons at it in a succession to remove electrons one after the other, and lets assume that this electron that is removed goes away and never comes back. After removing enough electrons, will the repulsion from the protons in the hydrogens and the oxygen atom cause the hydrogen and oxygen to separate? Or perhaps with other simple compounds as well besides water, i would assume the same process would work to separate elements.
     
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  3. Nov 23, 2014 #2

    mfb

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    Yes. This is called coulomb explosion.
     
  4. Nov 24, 2014 #3
    Could you please elaborate on this? I asked brother (Chemistry Major (almost, if not 4.0 GPA) in my fraternity) and he said that it could happen (didn't mention Coulomb Explosion) but that the oxygen may not be recoverable since it would undergo (possibly) nuclear decay.
     
  5. Nov 24, 2014 #4

    mfb

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    The keyword coulomb explosion should give enough material. He should have heard of it, it is a nice tool somewhere between chemistry and physics. If you remove the binding electrons and/or make the components so charged that they repel each other too much, the atoms fly apart.
    Nuclear decays have (almost*) nothing to do with the electrons around them. And most oxygen nuclei are stable anyway.


    *they are relevant for electron capture, but that is irrelevant here
     
  6. Nov 24, 2014 #5

    e.bar.goum

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    16O (99.757% of natural oxygen) is stable. It will not decay.

    Perhaps a chemistry major isn't the person to ask about this, I doubt fully ionizing molecules is something that comes up in chemistry too often. You're most likely to come across it in particle accelerators (slam a molecular beam of whatever into a target) or in high intensity laser physics (see for example http://journals.aps.org/pra/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevA.73.041201 or http://iopscience.iop.org/0953-4075/46/16/164028/pdf/0953-4075_46_16_164028.pdf)
     
  7. Nov 24, 2014 #6
    While he didn't mention it, i also didn't reply to him asking if he knew about the phenomenon. So it could be possible that he knew about it but just didn't mention the name of it.
     
  8. Nov 24, 2014 #7
    I am a Physics and MechE major. My questions are purely theoretical to I try and think of new ways to do new things or more efficient ways to do old things. While my idea may not seem relevant to the population, there is still a hidden purpose, within, which i'm not yet willing to reveal. And so far, from this thread the answers i've received have only helped with my research. So thank you, to all! This thread is also linked with my thread about BEC's.
     
  9. Nov 24, 2014 #8

    mfb

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    COLTRIMS is an analysis technique that uses the fragmentation of molecules to study their chemical properties.
     
  10. Nov 24, 2014 #9

    e.bar.goum

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    I hadn't heard of COLTRIMS before now (not a molecule person.). That's super neat, thanks mfb!
     
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