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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Elusive Jets Caught on Film
9 January 2003 (All day)
In 1882, Lord Rayleigh predicted that a droplet would emit jets when zapped with enough charge. Rayleigh was right, and today the jets are the basis for a Nobel Prize-winning technique called electrospray ionization, which is widely used to study the structure of large biomolecules. Yet no one had ever seen Rayleigh jets. Until now.
In the 9 January issue of Nature, researchers present the first photographs of charged droplets ejecting two thin jets from either end. Thomas Leisner of the Technical University at Ilmenau, Germany, and colleagues levitated charged 60-micrometer droplets of ethylene glycol in an electric field. As the particles evaporated, the electrical charge began to overwhelm the surface tension that keeps the particles together. By studying how the droplets quivered, the researchers were able to trigger a snapshot at the exact moment the jets appeared.
Although the pictures are satisfying in that they fulfill a century-old prediction, much mystery remains. For instance, the team found that the jets occur at lower charges than predicted by Rayleigh. "Nobody knows how these jets are formed, nor what makes them so fine," says Leisner.