How Chemistry Narrowly Avoids Negating Quantum-Mechanics

According to Quantum-Mechanics, the ultimate solution to the question, of Wave-Particle Duality, no matter how deeply this solution is buried, lies in the idea, that Particles cause Waves. Hence, the particles are more-ultimately real, and waves are not. In certain cases such as phonons, this even extends beyond waves-in-a-vacuum, to sound waves, that can be modeled as quasi-particles.

One rule which this evokes is the notion, that if (A) causes (B) with certainty, then it cannot be true that (B) causes (A). And to my mind, this has presented the greatest challenge with Chemistry.

The way Chemistry is understood to work today, the electrons that were loosely stated to be orbiting the nucleus, are actually occupying Quantum-Mechanical states around the nucleus, thus merely being attached to the nucleus, and they occupy shells, which are subdivided into orbitals. Further, these orbitals have known wave-functions, that follow from QM. Hence, the s2 -orbitals are spherical, the p6 -orbitals are perpendicular, and the d10 and f14 -orbitals have the more-complex geometries, which are possible modes of resonance. If all the orbitals belonging to a shell are filled, then indeed the shell becomes spherical itself, and this is best exhibited with inert gasses, which therefore also have ideal cancellation of the nuclear charge at close distance, and which therefore also lack electronegativity. (:1)

The main point of confusion which is possible here, is in the fact that these orbitals and their wave-functions seemingly define the chemical and physical properties of the element, except for anything related to its mass. The suggestion follows, that since the electrical field of the nucleus is strong enough to manipulate the wave-functions, it can also end up displacing where the particle ultimately occurs. In so doing, this action on the orbital would seem to suggest that the wave-function can also be said to change the particle-parameters, thereby creating a contradiction with the way in which QM is currently taught.

There is a specific observation which we can make about this subject, which causes Chemistry to avoid contradicting QM by the width of a hair.

These s, p, d and f -orbital geometries are only thought to exist, if their electrons are unpaired. Each orbital is capable of holding up to 2 electrons, and an orbital which only holds 1 electron is said to be “half-filled”. It has these formally-defined properties when half-filled.

There has never been a precedence in Chemistry, in which a half-filled orbital can be shared by two atoms. But some sort of entity needs to be shared between 2 or 3 atoms, in order actually to form a bond, and in order to change position around either atom. (:2)

When orbitals are filled by 2 electrons each, these two electrons perform a dance which electrons are already famous for, in which both their spin-vector and their magnetic dipole moment pair up, to cancel out. This is also known as “spin-spin decoupling”, and causes the electron to resemble a Fermion less, resulting in some quasi-particle that resembles a fluid more – i.e. a massive Bose particle.

The same affinity causes electron-pairs to form Cooper Pairs, which ultimately result in superconductivity. But in Chemistry, it forms charge-droplets, which are able to change position on an atom or molecule, and which can be shared between 2 or 3 atoms, thus forming either the sigma-bond or the pi-bond known.

The important fact to understand, is that This quasi-particle does not represent a wave-function, and so its mutability also does not represent the mutability of a wave-function. This charge-droplet has mass.

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How Magnetic Fields Can Bend Space

According to classical concepts in Physics, Gravitational Fields can bend space, while Magnetic Fields are orthogonal to them, and as long as that model does not break, no intensity of Magnetic Field, will do what a Gravitation Field does.

But there are many ways in which the classical theories of Physics have been replaced by more-controversial ones, based on Quantum Mechanics.

(Revised 10/19/2016)

One subject which Quantum-Mechanics describes, is that of Virtual Particles. And this is my best stab at explaining ‘how they work':

The ‘normal state’ of matter, is to have positive energy, which is really just a confusing way to say that matter has positive mass, since mass and energy are equivalent, and since photons, that are generally perceived as only consisting of energy, can collide with nuclei, and cause matter-antimatter particle-pairs to be created, the combined mass of which must not exceed the energy of the incident gamma-ray photon.

This concept of matter possibly having positive energy can be misread, because the particle in question could be an electron, the electrical charge of which is defined as negative. This negative electrical charge does not prevent the electron from being positive matter, in the sense that its electrical properties are orthogonal to its mass, as a property.

But there was a famous Physicist named Dirac, who discovered quite by accident, that in correspondence with the positive-energy / mass -state of a particle, a negative-energy state is also ‘possible’, because that negative state by itself does not lead to contradictions.

The ‘inverse electron’ is positively charged, and opposite the regular electron in every way, including that the inverse one has positive charge, (and negative mass and energy). If the electron was left-handed, the positron will be right-handed.

Quite by accident, Dirac had discovered antimatter.

(Edit 05/25/2017 : It should be pointed out that this initial theory of Antimatter stands in contradiction with the modern, observed fact, that antimatter has positive mass, even though in some ways, it’s supposed to exist in opposition to ‘regular matter’. Hence, the paradox has already been commented on in depth, that while in the laboratory, Scientists are only able to convert energy into matter and antimatter simultaneously, the observed Universe consists almost entirely of matter.

Scientists cannot explain why this inconsistency takes place; they can only measure that it does.

It’s assumed that the reader is already familiar with this, and this posting is designed to have a liberal look at the subject, which could open up ways to rethink it. Trying to rethink a subject, while clinging to every assumption we may make about it, will usually not lead to any new insights. )

But under normal circumstances, the properties of empty space are defined such, that the energy-state of the electrons equals zero, which simply means that they do not exist. Yet, there is some small probability, that both a negative a positive-energy electron exist simultaneously, yet temporarily. Over slightly longer distances, relative to their distances of uncertainty, their properties cancel out. “Virtual Particle Phenomena” arise, when these particle-properties fail to cancel out completely. This usually requires some catalyst to happen, that catalyst having to consist of positive energy.

An extremely strong magnetic field – which would have to be stronger, even, than the magnetic field of a regular neutron star – is capable of evoking an asymmetry, in the paired, virtual particles of empty space. And then, if the magnetic field becomes as strong as that observed belonging to a type of start called a ‘magnetar’, a gamma-ray photon that crosses it, can cause a particle-antiparticle pair to be formed, which consume the photon, and which promptly annihilate, thus leaving behind two or more photons, that are less-energetic than the original photon was.

And so by distorting the relationship between a particle and its inverse, as belonging to a virtual-particle pair, a magnetic field can in fact have an effect on empty space. I do not know whether this meets the criteria of distorting space adequately.

Dirk

I have a piece of personal speculation to add. It might be that Dirac had an incorrect way of working with this subject.

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A Brief History of Time

I recently took part of a socially-oriented group-reading, using an excerpt from the Steve Hawking book “A Brief History of Time”. This was a book which I had not read before, but which for some reason, our group chose to in to, on Chapter 10, which I believe is a chapter, in which the author tries to explain, ‘What is the theory of everything, with emphasis on Gravity?’

I think that one aspect of this book which was not taken seriously enough, would have been precisely, to present it as one interpretation of Physics. I think that as much as Science and Physics is supposed to be objective, this extremely broad field is in fact subject to fashion trends.

And so there is one example from this Chapter 10, which I would like to use, to exemplify of Physics is ripe with fashion. Steven Hawking tries to explain, why and why not Gravity has been incorporated into the Unified Theory of Physics.

Steven Hawking points out, that there have been false dawns in the evolution of Science, but that we are making progress, including in our understanding of Gravity. But Gravity has always had as its main drawback, the fact that it lends itself the least, to interpretation according to Quantum Mechanics.

That problem began in the middle of the 20th century, when Physics was making a turn away from theories that can be called the Classical Theories, based on Fields – hence, the Albert Einstein ambition to produce a Unified Field Theory – in favor of the particle-based Universe, which now dominates the current definitions of the Universe, and which has arisen out of a relatively sudden desire to translate all Physics knowledge, into particle-based, QM knowledge equivalents.

Scientists have always been quick to point out, that the particle explanation of EM radiation is easy, in the existence of Photons. The explanation for the Strong Nuclear Force has been easy, either in the form of Quarks, or in the form of Gluons. But then Scientists were at an initial lack for gravity, in response to which it was simply stated ‘Gravity is mediated by a Graviton.’

Nobody ever explained what the behavior of a suspected Graviton was supposed to be, to result in what is observed as gravity. And the way Steven Hawking responds to this in his book, is to suggest that Scientists cheat a little bit, by adapting their theories to observed facts. In fact, If Science does not explain observed facts, it becomes useless.

Gravity acts on all the objects of the Universe, over great distances, without any certification from Humans, as being QM-conform. But when Physicists were asked in the 1970s, to explain how, and to make use of the construct of a Graviton, they actually started to build a concept of “Super Gravity”.

There is a reason, why I had not heard of Super Gravity, before the chapter-reading. As an individual, I could simply be satisfied that Gravity had not been adequately explained, in terms of actual Gravitons. But professional Scientists do not have this luxury, because they always need to find the answers, where questions are still unanswered.

And so in the 1970s, they started to build a concept of Super Gravity, according to which Gravity was no longer caused by a Graviton alone, but rather by a Group of Particles, that included Fermions and Bosons!

This concept eventually gave rise to a model which was so complex, that it would have needed to be tested on computers to see – whether it reflects known facts about how gravity behaves. And it was the failure of Super Gravity, to provide a simpler answer, which also gave rise to the success which followed it – the Revival of String Theory in the 1980s.

But the failure of Super Gravity was not actually, as far as I can tell, an actual failure with Super Gravity. This failure takes its roots in the simple fact, that because every phenomenon needed to be caused by a particle, Gravity needed to be caused by a particle, this particle was named, but nobody can explain how a Graviton is supposed to work, even to this day.

Well, Mathematicians have found that String Theory makes the most sense, if its equations are describing a Graviton. But they too, cannot provide a common-sense explanation, for how that proposition is supposed to work. They simply like String Theory, because they do.

And as far as I am concerned, the most up-to-date description of the subject remains, that in theory, Gravity should be mediated by Gravitons then, but that Scientists still do not really know how. This was also the state of affairs, before Super Gravity was attempted.

Also, Steven Hawking makes the statement that Quantum Mechanics is generally the Art, of balancing positive an negative infinities, such that the finite residuals will correspond to the observable. This is very similar to how he simply explains, that directly after the Big Bang, there just happened to be slightly more matter, than there was antimatter, and that this was the reason then, for why today, the Universe consists almost entirely of matter.

These statements might be brilliant conjecture, but do not count as facts. The only place where Physics balances infinities, is in the special field of Virtual Particles. And otherwise the subject does not crop up, as a general feature of QM. But it is a fixture, to the Steven Hawking interpretation, of how the Universe works. Which somehow needs to conform to a very Human notion of QM.

Dirk

 

Understanding NMR

Under ‘the term NMR’, people may correctly understand two different subjects:

  1. Why do subatomic particles, in this case nuclei, precess?
  2. How do Engineers exploit this precession, in order to form 2D and 3D images, in ‘NMRI’?

In this posting, I am only going to address subject (1).

Precession and spin are easier to understand, when we can simply apply the Newtonian concepts. Quantum Mechanics today tends to obscure the subject of precession. And so for most of this post, I am going to make the somewhat daft assumption that the precession of subatomic particles, is Newtonian.

If a gyroscope is spinning along an arbitrary axis, and if we apply torque to its axis, this torque integrates into the spin vector – at an angle to the existing spin vector. Unless we are accelerating or slowing down its spin. This results in the spin vector rotating – and thus in precession.

But, if we have seen the demonstration in which an off-axis gyroscope is precessing on a passive pedestal, we also observe that eventually the phenomenon weakens, and that the practical axis seems to shift further and further in the direction gravity is pulling on it.

The reason this weakening takes place, is the fact that some additional torque is being applied to the gyroscope, against the direction in which it is precessing. Otherwise, it would just precess forever. This additional torque could be due to friction with the pedestal, due to air resistance, due to magnetism, or whatever.

An artillery shell is aerodynamically designed, so that as long as it has excess spin, interaction with the air will always push it in the direction of any existing precession, and so this type of object will tend to straighten its axis of spin, into the direction with which it is flying. This would be the equivalent to the gyro from before, straightening up and standing up against gravity again.

Atomic nuclei that have an odd mass number, also have a non-zero spin quantum number, thus having spin, and also have a magnetic dipole moment. The wanton assumption could be made that its magnetic dipole moment is always parallel to its axis of spin. But then if we visualize matter as consisting of nuclei that are separated by vast, less-dense clouds of electrons, it would seem to follow that each nucleus is always precessing in response to local magnetic fields.

And even if we were to apply an external magnetic field to such a system, it would follow that precession could not yet be detected externally, because the nuclei are all out-of-phase. Ostensibly, they would also continue to precess, and to stay out of phase, simply due to an applied magnetic field. The only big difference with the practical gyro should then be, that the magnitude of their spin-vector should never change, since this should be intrinsic.

But if we were to insist on this very Newtonian description, then something else should also happen that is not as obvious. Those thin wisps of electrons should not only react to the applied field, but also locally, to the field of each nucleus precessing. So if we assume conservation of energy, there would also be reactive torque acting on each nucleus, in response to its own precession, because the density of the electron clouds is not zero.

After a certain settling period which is measurable, the nuclei end up aligning themselves with the applied field, resulting in the state that has its lowest-possible potential energy. This takes milliseconds instead of the nanoseconds that some of these behaviors should take on the subatomic scale. Precession has still not been detected.

Likewise, the fact that subatomic decay can take years instead of nanoseconds, refutes certain mundane explanations, of what might be causing that.

Well, one thing that Scientists can do is compute what the dipole moment of such a nucleus is, as well as the magnitude of its angular momentum – spin – and to compute as a function of the applied field-intensity, with what frequency all the nuclei should be precessing… This frequency is called the “Larmor Frequency”.

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