The mass spectrometer allowed us to see the atomic transitions in real time

Physicists have developed a new method for detecting changes in the mass of individual atoms in the quantum jumps of electrons using high-precision mass spectrometer. Scientists measured sinnesorgane ions of rhenium and found a new metastable state, which can be used in atomic clock. Work published in the journal Nature.

In 1905 albert Einstein showed that any energy associated with a certain mass: E=mc2. This fact gives the possibility to measure the energy of the systems by measuring their mass: for example, it is theoretically possible to calculate the charge of phone or mechanical watches with a relative precision of the balance. In modern physics, as such scales are mass spectrometersthat they are able to detect the changes in mass of a group of charged atoms, ions. However, changes in the mass of one ion to fix is extremely difficult and still have not been able to do.

An international team of physicists with the participation of scientists from saw the change in mass of the different ions of rhenium using the mass spectrometer PENTATRAP, which was built at the University of max Planck in Heidelberg, Germany. This device allows to detect changes in the ion mass with an accuracy of 10-11 — much better than the previous mass spectrometer.

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