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You are here News Science Scientists discover atoms inside the orbiting electrons of a 'giant atom'

Scientists discover atoms inside the orbiting electrons of a 'giant atom'

Scientists discover atoms inside electrons of giant atom Scientists have discovered an atom filled with atoms. The atom's electrons orbit at such a great distance that there's room for other atoms.

The atoms within the "giant atom" form weak bonds, produ cing a new exotic state of matter -- what scientists have dubbed "Rydberg polarons."

The discovery combines a pair of atomic phenomenon, both of which can only be studied under extremely cold conditions: Bose-Einstein condensates and Rydberg atoms.

A Bose-Einstein condensate is a unique state of matter observed only at temperatures approaching absolute zero. Rydberg atoms are atoms featuring a single electron in a distant orbit and a highly excited state.

"The average distance between the electron and its nucleus can be as large as several hundred nanometers -- that is more than a thousand times the radius of a hydrogen atom," Joachim Burgdörfer, a professor at the Vienna University of Technology in Austria, said in a news release.

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