Ever since their discovery, electrons have been seen as elementary particles— that is that they have no substructure or component parts. Electrons are just electrons and that’s it. Only now, electrons have been observed decaying into two halves, which makes scientists rethink how electrons are made.
Designer electrons? How does one create designer electrons? They’re so tiny and unpredictable. How would you even hold one still to put a suit on it? The designer electrons are in a new type of graphene that can have its electrons tuned to give it specific properties, from being magnetic to giving the material certain electrical properties.
Electrons are essential components to atoms and therefore to matter. Every element has its own number of electrons and everything you see around you, everything you don’t see is full of electrons. But there’s a problem with electrons and that’s the fact that every electron is completely and totally indistinguishable from another. But what if there was just a single electron, existing in all places at once?
Even as we’re beginning to understand more about the quantum world, electrons are still wily little creatures. On group in Korea has figured out they may be able to capture an electron in mid-flight, using a high harmonic laser, firing at an attosecond (one quintillionth of a second), snagging an electron like a tractor beam.
Microscopes have gotten really good over the years. How good? Just two years ago, IBM was showing off pictures of individual atoms and now we’ve got our first look at electron orbitals. Damn, they really do look just like the drawings of electron orbitals you probably had to do in high school chemistry.
There are plenty of things in nature that are spherical, but very few perfect spheres. As it turns out however, if you were wondering, that electrons are perfect spheres. Okay, so they’re like 99.9999% spherical, but to you and I that’s a perfect sphere. Scientists are just so fucking picky about that shit.
Currently, information is stored in a “computer” with “binary”… 1s and 0s tastefully arranged to give the illusion of data. Electrons by their very nature are also binary, either spinning one way or the other. Electrons are also really, really, really tiny, and using their spin to encode information can double memory usage and conserve power.
Fucking electrons are dodgy little things, zipping about in their little clouds of probability, not giving a crap about you, but so essential to matter. Until now, we haven’t been able to see the damn specks. But this is the future, so now we can actually watch them oscillate thanks to scientists in Germany and the US.
Proving your girlfriend wrong, there is a shorter amount of time than “Was that it?” Scientists in Germany decided to hit electrons with light and then measure how quickly they moved. The result was 20 attoseconds, the shortest period of time ever measured. One attosecond is one quintillionth of a second.