Physicists have learned to control the nucleus of an atom using an electric field. A mistake during the experiment helped to make this discovery, according to a study by scientists from the University of New South Wales, published in the journal Nature.
The researchers conducted experiments on various manifestations of nuclear magnetic resonance, which occurs in substances with nuclei with a nonzero magnetic moment. This means that the electric charge in them “rotates” relative to their core.
Under the influence of an external magnetic field, the magnetic moments of its nuclei reorient, and the substance will resonantly absorb or radiate electromagnetic energy at a certain frequency.
This technology is used in many modern devices – with its help you can analyze the rock or analyze the state of organs and tissues in the human body.
In the course of the new work, the researchers conducted a series of experiments with nuclear magnetic resonance using the example of one antimony atom, an element whose nucleus has a sufficiently large intrinsic magnetic moment.
At the very beginning of the experiment, the antenna, which was supposed to create a magnetic field and control the rotation of the atom, exploded. However, even after the antenna failed, scientists recorded resonant radiation.
“It turns out that after damage, the antenna instead of a magnetic start to generate a strong electric field. Thus, we “rediscovered” nuclear electric resonance. Our discovery means that now scientists have the opportunity to create quantum computers based on single atoms, without the application of any magnetic field”.
Andrea Morello, lead author of the study