Explaining atomic motion

By laser-cooling atoms and studying their movements, a Missouri S&T physicist hopes to better understand how environmental factors affect atoms and their components.

20160602_daniel_fischer_0046Daniel Fischer, assistant professor of physics, uses laser beams to trap lithium atoms in a magnetic field inside a custom-built vacuum chamber. He then ionizes them using different lasers and, with the aid of a high-resolution momentum microscope, measures the distance and velocity they travel.

“It can be extremely challenging to predict the motion of three or more particles due to their mutual forces,” Fischer says. “This complex interplay of several particles requires a combination of theoretical and experimental research because such systems cannot be fully described by mathematical expressions alone.”

This is what physicists refer to as the “few-body problem,” which continues to confound the physics world.

“These few-body problems have both fundamental and technological relevance for the future,” he says. “For example, if you destroy a cancerous cell in a body, the destruction of the genetic material is not only driven by their direct absorption of radiation but also by the interaction with nearby molecules and surrounding liquids. By understanding how the atoms of these cells share the absorbed energy, we could better control localized treatments.”

Few-body prediction could also be used in materials science, quantum chemistry, biological science and information processing, says Fischer.

Fischer’s research was funded through a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Early Career Development (CAREER) Program.

Around the Puck

Pushing the boundaries of space exploration

Space tourism could start in the next  two years, says Jeff Thornburg, AE’96, but it’s going to be expensive.

[Read More...]

EWB completes Guatemala project

After nearly a decade of work, a small Guatemalan village can now count on clean drinking water thanks to the Missouri S&T student chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB).

[Read More...]

Homecoming 2017

The Miner Alumni Association honored a select group of alumni during Homecoming for their accomplishments and their devotion to the association, the campus and its students.

[Read More...]

Dissolving electronics

Electronic devices that can not only be implanted in the human body but also completely dissolve on their own — known as “bioresorbable” electronics — are one of medical technology’s next frontiers.

[Read More...]

Automated kiosk speeds travel security

Your wait time at the airport could drop significantly thanks to a new automated security kiosk developed by Nathan Twyman, assistant professor of business and information technology.

[Read More...]