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Common Forms of Alkali Metals—New Rydberg Matter Clusters of Potassium and Hydrogen

Journal article
Authors Leif Holmlid
Published in Journal of Cluster Science
Volume 21
Issue 4
Pages 637–653
ISSN ISSN 1040-7278
Publication year 2010
Published at Department of Chemistry
Pages 637–653
Language en
Keywords Alkali metal, Potassium, Rydberg matter, Low-density metal. Hydrogen, Cluster
Subject categories Electronic structure, Mesoscopic physics, Spectroscopy, Chemical physics


Alkali metals can form low-density metallic phases, in their most wellordered form called Rydberg Matter (RM). RM consists mainly of planar metallic clusters, with the number of atoms in each cluster not exceeding 100 according to experiments. Six-fold symmetric RM clusters in the most stable series K19, K37, K61 and K91 were observed by rotational radio-frequency spectroscopy and shown to be planar in point group D6h (Holmlid, J Mol Struct 885:122, 2008). Here, the RM clusters formed by K and H atoms are studied by neutral time-of-flight after pulsed laser fragmentation of RM formed from K and H. The kinetic energy of the fragments is due to laser initiated Coulomb explosions. Novel RM clusters of the type KN with N = 6, 9, 10, 13 and 15 are ejected from the material. They are necessarily planar due to the RM bonding, with two- or three-fold symmetry axes perpendicular to the plane. Pure hydrogen atom RM clusters HN are observed, demonstrating once more that H indeed is an alkali metal. Mixed clusters KMHN similar to hydrogen clusters where each K replaces an H atom as in KH6 are now also positively identified.

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