Re: Mega Atom
- From: Luke Campbell <lwcamp@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 4 May 2010 16:07:52 -0700 (PDT)
On May 3, 11:35 pm, af...@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (John Park) wrote:
Luke Campbell (lwc...@xxxxxxxxx) writes:
On May 2, 10:28=A0am, af...@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (John Park) wrote:
I'm not getting this. The muon orbitals are so much smaller than the
electron orbitals that I find it hard to see how or why the would overlap
enough to form a bond anyway. And doesn't the formation of electron
bond-pairs hinge on the operation of the exclusion principle? ... which
wouldn't apply to a mixture of muons and electrons.
My apologies if it seemed I said that you could form some sort of
hybrid chemical bond using an electron and a muon. That was not my
intent. In fully muonic matter, you will get atoms sharing muons to
form chemical bonds. In matter with electrons stuck to it, you get
the same thing with electrons.
And why would a muon "kick out an electron from an electronic carbon atom="?
I can see an outer muon transferring to an electronic carbon atom and
falling towards the core. But (assuming things survive the flood of
x-rays) wouldn't you then be left with something like an electronic boron
Pretty much. I was figuring the extra electron would decide to pick
up and leave for greener (more electrically positive) pastures, but of
course that is not guaranteed. You can still get shake-off of the
valence electron(s) during the transition - to first approximation,
you can treat this as a sudden change in nuclear potential from +6 to
+5 elementary charges. The overlap of the states with +6 and +5
charges gives a non-zero amplitude that some of the outer electrons
end up in unbound states.
The process could continue, of course, with further muon transfers, but I
imagine things would stabilise after three muons had gone over, leaving
three behind. Charges would then have to redistribute by transfer of
electrons. And since the outer orbitals in the final state would all be
occupied by electrons, you'd wind up with something like ordinary lithium
metal (atomic weight 12.3). No?
With bare atoms, I would expect a muonic carbon (say) to transfer one
muon to an electronic carbon. At this point, the muonic carbon looks,
to electrons, like a +1 charged nucleus and will scoot away from the
now boron-like carbon to give you something that is chemically like
BH. When this happens, there is essentially no overlap between the
hydrogen-like carbon's muon orbitals and the boron-like carbon's muon
orbitals, and muon transfer stops. This assumes that the time scale
of muon transfer is slower than the time scale of molecular
vibration. If not, then, as you say, you end up with some equilibrium
value of each carbon having three electrons and three muons, with a
chemistry something like a lithium dimer. Or maybe you have rapid
transfer to the core orbitals but not to the valence orbitals, giving
you helium-like carbon and beryllium-like carbon. Or maybe the two
carbon atoms are held together by mu-chemical bonds at very close
distances, with the six electrons orbiting both atoms and treating
them chemically like a single carbon atom. Without modifying a
quantum chemistry code to handle muons as well as electrons, I'm not
Thanks for this. Any quick thoughts on what would happen with macroscopic
amounts of muonic and electronic carbon, in the more realistic[?] scenario
where the x-ray emission is considered? (I'm guessing pseudo-lithium in
this case when things cool down.)
As a possible plot point, it occurs to me that seeing the results of the
interaction, a casual observer might mistake muonic matter for antimatter..
Assuming that the mu-matter is not already passivated by a cloud of
electrons, my guess is that you get an actinic blue-white hot flash of
plasma, a brief burst of hard x-rays, and then an expanding cloud of
hybrid muonic/electronic matter that acts like very heavy isotopes of
elements lighter than carbon. If you don't get transfers of multiple
muons from a single mu-atom/e-atom encounter, the resulting hybrid
atoms will be passivated by electron clouds - even the former mu-atom
will now have a 1s orbital electron going around it, and this will
protect the muons from getting close enough to other atoms to jump
off. If the temperature is high enough get significant ionization of
hydrogen, some of the hydrogen-like carbons will be stripped of their
electrons and then could wander close enough to other atom's nuclei to
get a significant chance of transferring more muons. For this to
happen to significant numbers of hydrogen-like carbon, you will need
to keep the temperature above about 150,000 K (= 13.6 eV, the
ionization energy of hydrogen), or perhaps a lower temperature for a
significant period of time. Since the transfer of muons gives about
200 eV as heat, it is likely that the temperature will be driven above
this limit. It is also likely to be hot enough to keep much of the
helium-like carbon fully ionized. So perhaps in this hot plasma, you
will get plenty of lithium-like carbon forming.
Now, as Tim Little pointed out, things can get a lot more complex if
you are no longer dealing with bare atoms. You might be able to get
extended positively charged mu-matter systems that are shielded by a
cloud of bound electrons. This can serve as a handwave for people who
want mu-matter, and it might even work! (assuming you can have stable
muons, that is).
Or invent another stable lepton?
Sure. It doesn't even need to be a lepton, as long as it is stable,
heavier than an electron, negatively charged, and does not interact
badly with protons and neutrons (badly as in I consider, for this
purpose, anti-protons to interact badly with protons).
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