13
Sep
2018

Hydrogen can form ‘ghost bonds’ with something that isn’t even there

A hydrogen atom forming a 'ghost bond'

This hydrogen atom is bonding with nothing. Spooky!

M. Eiles/Purdue University

By Andy Coghlan

Chemists have a plan to make ghosts in the lab, by bonding an atom to a patch of empty space.

Normal chemical bonds anchor two atoms together, usually through sharing their electrons. Now, theorists have worked out how to trick a single hydrogen atom to form a bond with nothing, by luring the atom’s lone electron into the same position and state it would be in a real bond.

Matt Eiles of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana and his colleagues are building on work …

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