"Every organism must interact with its environment in order to obtain
energy, and in many cases it acts on itself, as humans do. No organism
can survive if isolated from its environment."
"Although every single creature is damned to give up in its personal
battle against chaos, life itself continues."
"Life involves a temporary decrease of entropy for which energy is
"Life is an irreversible process. An organism which obtains equilibrium
with its environment is dead. (....) Universe is an isolated system. (....)
In a certain sense we buy our lives through entropic death of universe."
from Biochemistry, by C.K.Mathews and K.E.van Holde
vacuum : the unmaterial component in universe
matter : everything that occupies a space
and has a mass in the universe
object : a part of matter
atomic theory : the theory that the molecules of a substance are
made up of one or more atoms, each representing a definite amount of the
element, which amount does not vary in the molecule, whatever combinations
the molecule may enter.
electron theory : all bodies are complex structures composed of
small particles called atoms together with still smaller particles called
particle : the minimum unit of matter that
maintains the chemical properties of a chemical element (i.e. : the
or of a chemical compound (i.e.: the molecule).
form when atoms team up, glued together by electrons that smear themselves
into orbitals, which define the area where each electron is most likely
to be found. When these molecules react, the electrons shift their allegiances
between different atoms and change the shape of the molecular orbitals.
An approximate take on quantum mechanics tells you that you can't directly
observe an orbital, yet we have. The imaging technique uses extremely short
laser pulses to briefly ionize an electron away from a molecule of
which is simply 2 nitrogen atoms stuck together (N2). As they
spring back, the electrons emit light that can interfere with the laser
pulse in different ways depending on the electron's position and where
the laser pulse hit the molecule. Measuring this interference for thousands
of ionizations allowed the scientists to reconstruct the shape of the outermost
electron orbital in nitrogen. It produces a blurred image, like a swarm
of flies snapped in a long-exposure pictureref.
The electron is pulled out of position by the laser pulse's oscillating
electric field. This field cycles from high to low and back again every
2 femtoseconds, which is fast enough to catch electrons moving around during
chemical reactions as well. Although the scientists have only looked at
a simple, linear nitrogen molecule so far, early results suggest that this
will be possible with more complex molecules. The technique could eventually
help chemists to improve existing chemical reactions, design new catalysts
or even understand how biological processes work. Protein folding, for
example, relies on subtle interactions between atoms and electrons that
many scientists are now trying to simulate with computersref.
substance : a group of particles. If all particles
are identical, it is a pure or simple substance, otherwise it is
a complex substance
magnet : a lodestone; native iron oxide that
attracts iron; also a bar of steel or iron that attracts iron and has magnetic
permanent magnet : one with permanent magnetic
temporary magnet : a substance that possesses
magnetic properties only during the passage of an electric current or when
a permanent magnet is near it.
magnetization : the act or process of rendering
an object or substance magnetic.
longitudinal magnetization : the component
of a magnetization vector that is parallel to the direction of the magnetic
transverse magnetization : the components
of a magnetization vector that are in a plane perpendicular to the direction
of the magnetic field
physics : the science that studies transformations
in which no qualitative change in substances occurs
chemistry : the science that studies transformations
in which qualitative changes in substances occur
system : a group of objects which can exchange
with other systems ...
... both mass and energy (open system) ;
... only energy (closed system) ;
... neither mass nor energy (isolated system).
Also, it may be ...
... physically homogeneous ...
... and chemically homogeneous : pure or simple substance
... and chemically heterogeneous : solution
(solute + solvent)
... physically heterogeneous (i.e. : at least 2 phases
are distinguishable) ...
... and chemically homogeneous
... and chemically heterogeneous (mixtures)
if liquid + solid : suspension
if liquid + liquid : emulsion
if solid + solid : alloy
... physically semi-homogeneous and chemically semi-homogeneous
(colloid or colloidal solution)
if liquid + thin solid : sol -----coagulation----->
liquid inside solid : gel
if gas + (aerosol or spray) ...
... liquid : fog
... thin solid : smoke
together they create smog.
conversion : a shift from one form or state to another
gas liquefaction / condensation
: the conversion of gas into a liquid form, brought about by cooling and
compression, resulting in a decrease of the average kinetic energy of the
molecules sufficiently to allow intermolecular forces of attraction to
pull the molecules together
evaporation : conversion of a liquid or solid
G0 (Cavendish's constant) : 6,67259 x
10-11 [N x m2 / kg2]
c (light speed in vacuum) : 2,99792458 x 108
undulatory or wave theory : the theory that light, heat, and electricity
are transmitted through space in the form of waves.
Planck's quantum theory : the theory that the radiation and absorption
of energy take place in definite quantities called quanta (E) which vary
in size and are defined by the equation E = hn,
in which h is Planck's constant and n is the
frequency of the radiation.
SI base units
: any of the units of the Système International d'Unités,
or International System of Units, adopted in 1960 at the Eleventh General
Conference of Weights and Measures. SI units are based on the metric system
and many are derived from natural constants. For units and for multiples
and submultiples of these units formed by the use of prefixes
CGS unit : any unit in the centimeter-gram-second system.
mole (mol) is an amount of substance that contains as many objects
(molecules, particles, ions, cells etc.) as the number of atoms in exactly
12 grams of 12C. This number can be determined experimentally
to be 6.022 x 1023 (602,200,000,000,000,000,000,000), a number
which is called Avogadro's number. The mole is simply a convenient
unit for dealing with large numbers just like it is easier to talk about
the weight of a ship in tons rather than ounces.
atomic weight or mass unit (amu) (u) / dalton is defined by setting
the mass of one 12C atom equal to 12 amu. We can determine the
amu experimentally to be 1.657 x 10-24 (0.00000000000000000000000166)
grams. Just as Avogadro's number is very large, an amu is very small.
metric ton (t) : a metric ton is equal to 1,000,000 grams = 1,000
kilograms = 2,204 pounds = 1.102 U.S. short tons.
gram (g, gm) : a gram is 1/1000th of a kilogram. A gram is equal
to the mass of water contained in a cube one cm on each side (one cubic
centimeter = 1 cc = 1 cm3 of water weighs 1 gram). 1 kg = 2.205
pounds. A cube of water 10 cm on each side has a mass of 1 kg.
gamma : an obsolete equivalent for microgram (mg)
carat (c) : used primarily for gemstones, one carat = 0.2 gram =
0.00705 ounce. There are 5 carats in 1 gram.
ton (long ton) : in the U.S., a long ton = 1.12 short tons = 2,240
pounds = 1.016 metric tons.
ton (short ton) : in the U.S., a ton is 2,000 pounds = 907.18 kilograms
= 0.907 metric tons. This is the "ton" that most Americans use.
pound (lb, lbs) : the English unit of mass (weight) of both the
avoirdupois and the apothecaries' system. The avoirdupois pound contains
16 ounces, or 7000 grains (a less common unit), and is the equivalent of
453.592 gm. The apothecaries' pound contains 12 ounces, or 5760 grains,
and is the equivalent of 373.242 gm
ounce (oz, oz avdp) : 1 ounce is equal to 437.5 grains, 1/16 of
a pound, or 28.350 grams. The system of having 16 ounces in a pound is
called the avoirdupois system. Note: an ounce is a unit of weight that
is not equal to a fluid ounce which is a measure of volume. The troy or
apothecary weight system has one ounce = 480 grains = 31.103 grams and
12 ounces = 1 pound! That means one avoirdupois ounce is equal to 0.910
dram (dr, dr avdp) : fairly uncommon. There are 256 drams in a pound.
1 dram = 27.34 grains = 1/16 ounces. Caution: apothecary drams and fluid
drams are different from the avoirdupois dram (see previous entry).
grain (lb, lbs) : fairly uncommon. There are 480 grains in a troy
ounce and 7,000 grains in a pound. 1 grain = 64.799 mg = 0.324 carats.
cloves and tods were units used in weighing wool -- thus
a clove equals 7 pounds, a stone equals 14 pounds, a tod equals 2
stone, a wey equals 6 and a half tod, a pack equals 240 pounds,
a sack equals 2 weys, and a last equals 12 sacks.
electron volt (eV) : the electron volt is the energy that we would
give an electron if it were accelerated by a 1 volt potential difference.
1 eV = 1.602 x 10-19 J. This term is most often used by physicists
kilojoules per mole (kJ/mol, kJ.mol-1) : a Joule, J,
is the SI unit of energy and is defined as one kg.m2/s2.
The prefix "kilo" means 1,000, so one kJ = 1,000 J. As the energies associated
with a single molecule or atom are quite small, we often find it easier
to discuss the energy found in one mole of the substance, hence "per mole".
To get the energy for one molecule, divide kJ/mol by Avogadro's number,
6.022 x 1023.
kilocalories per mole (kcal/mol, kcal.mol-1) : a calorie
was originally defined as the amount of energy required to raise the temperature
of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. One calorie = 4.184 J. One
kcal = 1,000 cal. When we count calories in our food, we are actually referring
to kilocalories; e.g. 1 dietary Calorie = 1,000 cal = 1 kcal. See the note
in the previous entry for information about the mole part of this unit.
British thermal unit (BTU) : the amount of heat necessary to raise
the temperature of 1 pound of water 1°F, usually from 39°F to 40°F
temperature scale : a scale used
for expressing the degree of heat, based on absolute zero as a reference
point (absolute scale), or with a certain value arbitrarily assigned to
such temperatures as the ice point and boiling point of water under certain
stipulated conditions, the range between and beyond them being divided
into a designated number of identical units.
absolute temperature scale : one with its zero at absolute zero
Celsius scale : a temperature scale on which 0° is officially
273.15 kelvins and 100° is 373.15 kelvins; abbreviated C or Cel. Before
1948 (and still, unofficially) the degree Celsius (°C) was called the
degree centigrade (symbol °C) with 0° at the freezing point of
fresh water and 100° at the boiling point, at normal atmospheric pressure
(760 mm Hg).
Fahrenheit scale : a temperature scale, obsolescent but still commonly,
unofficially used in the United States, in which the interval between Fahrenheit's
2 original fixed points, which are the lowest temperature attainable by
a freezing mixture of ice and salt (0°) and the normal temperature
of the human body (96° originally), is divided into 96 degrees (96
having 10 factors besides itself and 1); fresh water freezes at about 32°
and boils at about 212° under average atmospheric pressure
homigrade scale : a temperature scale in which 0° represents
the melting point of ice (0°C, 32°F), 100°, normal human temperature
(37°C, 98.6°F), and 270° the boiling point of water.
Kelvin scale : an absolute temperature scale whose unit of measurement,
the kelvin, is equivalent to the degree Celsius, the ice point therefore
being at 273.15 kelvins.
Rankine scale : an absolute scale on which the unit of measurement
corresponds with that of the Fahrenheit scale, so that the ice point is
at 491.67 degrees Rankine (°R)
Réaumur scale : a temperature scale with the ice point at
0 degrees and the normal boiling point of water at 80° Rankine (°R)
On the atomic scale, temperature is also a description of the distribution
of heat energy among the many billions of atoms and molecules that make
up the world around us. Crucially, this is a statistical approach that
assumes you are dealing with very large numbers of particles. For just
one atom, such an approach is not meaningful, says Atkins. The statistics
only start to make sense when considering dozens, or even hundreds of atoms
: it may also fail to apply in rather larger entities, such as carbon nanotubes
(10-mm cylinders that could be used to make
miniature electronic devices, containing < 100,000 atoms). The blossoming
field of nanotechnology relies on being able to manipulate materials that
are made from just a few thousand atomsref.
Web resources :
inch (in, U.S.) : there are 12 inches in a foot and 36 inches in
a yard. 1 inch = 2.54 centimeters.
foot (ft, U.S.) : there are 12 inches in a foot and 3 feet in a
yard. 1 foot = 30.48 centimeters = 0.3048 meters.
yard (yd, U.S.) : there are 3 feet = 36 inches in a yard. 1 yard
= 0.9144 meters.
rod (rd, U.S.) : generally obsolete. A unit of length equal to 16.5
furlong (fur., U.S.) : traditionally used only in horse racing.
A unit of length equal to 660 feet = 201.168 meters. There are 8 furlongs
in 1 mile.
statute, survey, international or land mile (mi, U.S.) : there are
5,280 feet in 1 mile. 1 mile = 1.609344 kilometers = 1,609.344 meters.
Caution: The nautical mile is 1.151 statute miles = 1.852 kilometers.
international nautical mile (naut mi); do not confuse with international
mile. There are 6,076.1155 feet in 1 nautical mile. 1 nautical mile = 1.15078
statute miles = 1.852 kilometers = 1,852 meters.
meter (m, metric) : currently defined as the length of 1,650,763.73
wavelengths of the orange-red radiation of 86Kr in a vacuum.
1 meter = 39.37 inches = 3.28 feet = 1.09 yards.
angstrom (A, metric) : 1 Angstrom = 1 x 10-10 meters.
1 Angstrom = 100 pm = 0.1 nm. The bond distances between atoms are generally
in the range of 1 to 3 Angstroms.
astronomical unit (au) : an astronomical unit is defined as the
mean distance between the Earth and the Sun. 1 au = 149,597,870 kilometers
= approximately 92.5 million miles.
light year (ly) : a unit of distance that would be traversed in
a period of one year by an object moving at the speed of light in a vacuum
(300,000,000 meters per second). 1 light year = 63,239.7 astronomical units
= 0.3066 parsecs = 5.88 x 1012 miles. The nearest star system,
Alpha Centauri, is 4.3 light years from ours.
parsec (par) : a unit of distance equal to the distance from the
sun to a point having a heliocentric (sun-centered) parallax of one second
(second as an angle, not a time unit). 1 parsec = 3.26164 light years.
If you find this term on an MSDS, you really aren't from around here, are
acre (acre) : the area of a square measuring approximately 209 feet
on a side. 1 acre = 43,560 square feet = 4047 sq meters = 0.4047 hectares
are (a) : the area of a square measuring 10 meters on a side. 1
are = 1076 sq feet = 100 sq meters = 0.01 hectares = 0.0247105 acres.
hectare (ha) : the area of a square measuring 100 meters on a side.
1 hectare = 2.47 acres = 10,000 sq meters = 0.01 sq kilometers.
volume units :
ounce (oz, U.S.) : one fluid ounce = 1/8 of a half-pint = 1/16 of
a pint = 1/32 of a quart = 1/128 of a gallon. One fluid ounce = 29.5735
pint (pt, U.S.) : there are 2 half-pints = 16 ounces in a pint.
There are 2 pints in a quart and 8 pints in a gallon. One pint = 473.176
quart (qt, U.S.) : there are 4 half-pints = 2 pints = 32 ounces
in a quart. There are 4 quarts in a gallon. 1 quart = 0.94635 liters =
gallon (gal, U.S.) : there are 128 ounces = 8 pints = 4 quarts in
a gallon. 1 gallon = 3.785 liters.
cubic inches (in3, cub. in., U.S.) : this is the volume
occupied by a cube one inch on a side. 1 cubic inch = 16.387 cubic centimeters
(cc and mL), There are 1728 cubic inches in one cubic foot.
cubic feet (ft3, cub. ft., U.S.) : this is the volume
occupied by a cube one foot on a side. 1 cubic foot = 1728 cubic inches
= 28,316.8 cubic centimeters (cc, cm3, mL)
cubic yard (yd3, cub. yd., U.S.) This is the volume occupied
by a cube one yard on a side. 1 cubic yard = 27 cubic feet = 0.7646 cubic
milliliter (mL, cc, cm3, metric) The prefix "milli" means
1/1000, so 1 milliliter = 0.001 liters. Alternatively, there are 1000 milliliters
in a liter. One milliliter = 0.0338 fluid ounces. Also known as a cubic
centimeter (see distance units) because a cube 1 cm on each side has a
volume of 1 ml. Because water has a density of 1.0, 1 ml of water weighs
deciliter (dl, metric) : the prefix "deci" means 1/10, so 1 deciliter
= 0.10 liters. (Try not to confuse this with the decaliter which is equal
to 10 liters). There are 10 deciliters in a liter.
liter (l, metric) 1 liter is the volume of a cube that is 10 cm
(1 deciliter) on each side (see distance units). There are 10 deciliters
= 1,000 milliliters = 1,000 cubic centimeters = 1.057 quarts = 33.814 ounces
in a liter. Because water has a density of 1.0, one liter of water weighs
1,000 grams = 1 kilogram.
cubic meter (m3, metric) : tis is the volume of a cube
1 meter (see distance units) on each side. 1 cubic meter = 1000 liters.
Because water has a density of 1.0, 1 cubic meter of water weighs 1 metric
ton = 1,000 kilograms = 1,000,000 grams
pounds per square inch (psi
/ PSI / lb/in2 / lb/sq in) : commonly used in the U.S.,
but not elsewhere. Normal atmospheric pressure is 14.7 psi, which means
that a column of air 1 square inch in area rising from the Earth's atmosphere
to space weighs 14.7 pounds.
atmosphere (atm) : normal atmospheric pressure is defined as 1 atmosphere.
1 atm = 14.6956 psi = 760 torr.
torr (torr) / mmHg : based on the original Torricelli
barometer design, one atmosphere of pressure will force the column of mercury
(Hg) in a mercury barometer to a height of 760 millimeters. A pressure
that causes the Hg column to rise 1 millimeter is called a torr (you may
still see the term 1 mm Hg used; this has been replaced by the torr). 1
atm = 760 torr = 14.7 psi . 1 mmHg = 1.36 cmH2O = 0.133 kPa
= 0.0193 psi
bar (bar) : the bar nearly identical to the atmosphere
unit. 1 bar = 750.062 torr = 0.9869 atm = 100,000 Pa.
millibar (mb or mbar) : there are 1,000 millibar in 1 bar. This
unit is used by meteorologists who find it easier to refer to atmospheric
pressures without using decimals. One millibar = 0.001 bar = 0.750 torr
= 100 Pa.
pascal (Pa) : 1 pascal = a force of 1 Newton per square meter (1
Newton = the force required to accelerate 1 kilogram 1 meter per second
per second = 1 kg/(m.s2); this is actually quite
logical for physicists and engineers, honest). 1 pascal = 10 dyne/cm2
= 0.01 mbar. 1 atm = 101,325 Pascals = 760 mm Hg = 760 torr = 14.7 psi.
membrane ionic theory : the theory that the resting potential difference
between the inside and outside of the cell is related to (1) the thin,
electrically insulating membrane between the cytoplasm and the interstitial
conducting medium, which is poorly and variably permeable to diverse ions;
(2) the presence of a metabolic cellular pump that promotes the efflux
of sodium ions from the cell interior to the outside against its electrochemical
gradient and, coupled with this, the influx of potassium ions into the
cell against its ionic concentration gradient.
polarization-membrane theory : the theory that living, resting cells
are surrounded by a semipermeable membrane lined by a series of electrical
doublets, or dipoles, with negative charges on the inner and positive charges
on the outer surface. When the membrane is electrically intact, its entire
surface is surrounded by doublets, and is said to be polarized.
ground state : the condition of lowest energy of a nucleus, atom,
or molecule, as opposed to the excited state.
excitation => excited state : the condition of a nucleus,
atom, or molecule produced by the addition of energy to the system as the
result of absorption of photons or of inelastic collisions with other particles
metastable state : an excited state with an unusually long lifetime,
ranging from 10-6 second to several minutes. An intermediate state between
the ground and excited states, requiring additional energy before decay
to the ground state can occur.
singlet state : the excited state occurring when one electron of
a pair is excited to a higher energy level without changing its spin; it
is unstable and can decay to either a ground state or a triplet state.
triplet state : the excited state resulting when an electron is
activated by absorbing a photon, moves to an outer orbital of higher energy,
with the electron spin parallel to that of the other unpaired electron;
it is a long-lived state that cannot decay to a ground state unless the
spin changes again
ionization : any process by which a neutral atom or molecule gains
or loses electrons, thus acquiring a net charge, as the dissociation of
a substance in solution into ions or ion production by the passage of radioactive
Townsend avalanche ionization : the multiplicative process in which
a single charged particle, accelerated by a strong electric field, produces
additional charged particles through collision with neutral gas molecules
ion : an atom or radical having a charge of positive (cation)
or negative (anion) electricity owing to the loss or gain of one
or more electrons. Substances that form ions are called electrolytes
dipolar ion / zwitterion : a dipolar ion, i.e., an ion that has
both positive and negative regions of charge; amino acids, for example,
occur as zwitterions in neutral solution, and the pH value at which the
zwitterion state is at a maximum is the isoelectric point.
hydrogen ion : the nucleus of the hydrogen atom or a hydrogen atom
that has lost its electron, H+; it bears a positive charge equivalent
to the negative charge of the electron and is called a proton.
hydronium ion : the hydrated form, H3O+, in
which the proton (hydrogen ion, H+) exists in aqueous solution;
a combination of H+ and H2O.
ionic theory : a theory that, on going into solution, the molecules
of an electrolyte either completely or partially break up or dissociate
into two or more portions, these portions being positively and negatively
charged electrically, the positively charged portions being different chemically
from those negatively charged. When an electric current is passed through
the solution of an electrolyte, the positively charged portions are attracted
by the negative pole or electrode, and move toward it; the negatively charged
portions are attracted by and migrate toward the positive electrode. From
this property of moving toward one of the electrodes, these charged molecular
fractions of electrolytes are called ions, from the Greek verb meaning
cathode-ray tube : a vacuum tube in which the cathode rays are accelerated
as a beam to form luminous spots on a fluorescent screen
hot-cathode tube : a vacuum tube in which the cathode is electrically
heated to incandescence and in which the stream of electrons depends on
the temperature of the cathode.
valve tube : a vacuum tube used to rectify an alternating current
photon : a quantum of electromagnetic radiation. It has no charge
photomultiplier tube (PMT) : a vacuum tube that converts electromagnetic
radiation signals into electrical pulses, consisting of a light-sensitive
surface that emits electrons when light is incident on it, the electrons
then passing through successive stages with electron multiplication at
electromagnetic units : that system of units based on the fundamental
definition of a unit magnetic pole as one which will repel an exactly similar
pole with a force of one dyne when the poles are 1 cm apart.
electrostatic units (esu) / elektrostatische Einheit (ESE) (Ger)
: that system of units based on the fundamental definition of a unit charge
as one which will repel an equal and like charge with a force of one dyne
when the 2 charges are 1 cm apart in a vacuum
fusion commonly occurs in stars like the Sun, where hydrogen atoms
meld together to form helium and release huge amounts of energy in the
process. Scientists have long believed that fusion has the potential to
be an enormous source of power here on Earth. However, no one has yet been
able to control fusion reactions because they only occur at temperatures
and pressures similar to those found in stars. Or so scientists thought
until 1989, when Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann of the University
of Utah claimed to have created a new kind of fusion inside a small canister
of water. Pons and Fleischmann claimed that when they ran an electrical
current between 2 palladium plates separated by water containing deuterium,
it created a small but measurable cold fusion reaction. In a highly
publicized press conference in Utah, the scientists claimed that this 'cold
fusion' had the potential to revolutionize the world's energy production.
Pons and Fleischmann's claims were quickly debunked by other scientists,
who pointed out numerous experimental errors in the measurements. But the
idea of cold fusion lives on in movies and science fiction, and among a
small cadre of researchers. Those researchers finally caught the ear of
the US energy secretary, Spencer Abraham, who commissioned the review in
August 2003 from the department's science directorate. Although the reviewers
remained sceptical, they were nearly unanimous in their opinion that the
energy department should fund well-thought-out proposals for cold fusionref
: a particular radionuclide is specified by
atomic number [number of protons in nucleus]
atomic weight [total number of protons + neutrons in nucleus]
nuclear energy state [e.g., a lower-case m after the atomic
weight to denote metastable states]
low-energy electrons (LEEs) :
conversion electrons of < 50 keV
Auger electrons are electrons ejected
by radiationless excitation of a target atom by the incident electron beam.
When an electron from the L shell drops to fill a vacancy formed by K-shell
ionization, the resulting X-ray photon with energy EK - EL
may not be emitted from the atom. If this photon strikes a lower energy
electron (e.g., an M-shell electron), this outer electron may be ejected
as a low-energy Auger electron. Auger electrons are characteristic of the
fine structure of the atom and have energies between 280 eV (carbon) and
2.1 keV (sulfur). By discriminating between Auger electrons of various
energies, a chemical analysis of the specimen surface can be made. Auger
electron energies are closely related to the corresponding X-ray energy,
and most usually are described in X-ray notation. For example, the Si KL1L2,3
transition, experimentally observed at 1620 eV, involves removal of an
electron in the K shell allowing an electron from the L1 shell to descend
with the emission of energy of 1690 eV. This energy can either be emitted
as a Si-Ka X-ray, or it can by transferred to a third electron, in this
case in the L2,3 shell, which has a binding energy of about
90 eV, ejecting it from the atom with an energy of around 1600 eV. The
probability of Auger electron production increases as the difference between
the energy states of the shells decreases. Light elements are more susceptible
to the formation of Auger electrons by multiple ionizations. Thus the proportion
of radiation emitted at characteristic wavelengths is lower than for heavier
elements. The proportion of Auger emission is greater than 0.5 up to about
Z = 30 (zinc). So, typically, one switches which transition is used as
we move up the periodic table: KLL transitions for light elements, LMM
after that, and then MNN. The Auger phenomenon is described by the fluorescent
yield, w, which for K-radiation is defined as
= nk / Nk, where wk
= fluorescent yield, nk = number of X-ray photons emitted from
the sample, and Nk = number of ionizations. Fluorescent yields
for the light elements are generally less than 0.2 for the K-lines. The
X-ray yield increases sharply with increasing Z and Auger electron yield
decreases. Thus Auger electrons provide a good basis for analysis of light
atoms. One might expect that X-ray intensities would be lower at low Z
because of increased Auger electron production, but lower fluorescent yield
compensates for easier ionization. Auger electrons are produced from depths
of about a wavelength into the sample because their low energies make them
easily reabsorbed. This makes Auger electrons particularly good for analysis
of surface composition, but such analysis requires ultra-high vacuum to
avoid absorptive losses. When SE and Auger yield is plotted as a function
of energy; the Auger electrons appear as a slight dimple which is often
enhanced for detection by taking the derivative of the curve (dN(E)/dE).
= 138.4 days)
(t1/2 = 1.0 hour; Emax = 6.09 MeV; mean penetration
range = 0.04-0.1 mm; imageable)
(t1/2 = 45.7'; Emax = 5.87 MeV; mean penetration
range = 0.04-0.1 mm; imageable)
(t1/2 = 7.2 hours; Emax = 5.87 MeV; mean penetration
range = 0.04-0.1 mm; imageable)
= 18.6 days)
= 1.41 x 1010 years)
= 7.1 x 108 years)
92238U (>90% of all naturally
= 432.7 years; emits an a particle with energy
of 5.49 MeV; also emits gamma and x-rays. Most intense gamma ray energy
is 0.060 MeV)
= 163 days to 238Pu; 2 high-energy a
particles : 6.07 and 6.11 MeV)
a and b-decays
225Ac (t1/2 = 10 days;
Emax = 5.83 MeV; mean penetration range = 0.04-0.1 mm; imageable)
/ electron)-decay only [Gr. [emacr]lektron amber, because an electric
charge can be produced in amber by rubbing]: an elementary particle
possessing the unit quantum of (negative) electric charge, 1.6 x 10-19
coulomb, with mass 1/1836 that of a proton, or 9.11 x 10-31
kilogram. Electrons can exist as atomic constituents or in the free state;
flowing in a conductor they constitute an electric current; when ejected
from a radioactive substance, they constitute beta rays; and when revolving
about the nucleus of an atom they determine all of its physical and chemical
properties except mass and radioactivity. Symbol e or e-.
emission electron : one of the electrons released from the atom
during radioactive decay.
free electron : an electron which is not bound to the nucleus of
an atom but may move from one atom nucleus to another.
valence electron : one of the electrons in the outermost shell of
an atom and thus able to participate in chemical reactions and the formation
of chemical bonds.
(t1/2 = 64 hours = 2.7 days; Emax = 2.28 MeV; mean
range = 2.76 mm; not imageable)
is an example of secular equilibrium. The 106Ru parent (halflife
368 days) disintegrates via b- decay
with a peak b particle energy of 39 KeV to radioactive
daughter 106Rh. The 90-percentile distance (the distance from
a source within which 90% of the energy is absorbed) in water for 106Ru
is less than 0.008 mm, so these particles may be considered to be entirely
absorbed in the 0.1 mm silver window. The primary contributor to therapeutic
dose is the continuous spectrum of beta particles emitted in the decay
of 106Rh (halflife 30 s). 106Rh disintegrates by
decay with a mean beta energy of about 1.4 MeV and a maximum of 3.54 MeV
to the stable element 106Pd. The 90-percentile distance for
particles in water is 7.92 mm. Backscatter from the 0.7 mm thick silver
backing of the applicator tends to soften the spectrum, while attenuation
in the 0.1 mm silver window tends to harden the spectrum of b
particles which are emitted from the concave surface to the applicator)
=> half-life = ln(0.5) x average life
Elements that are of interest for nuclear medicine
and radiation oncology applications :
Some quantities and equations that link them,
including derived constants [units of measure]
International Standard (SI) units are now defined in terms of absolute
atomic quantities. Examples include the second, which is measured by cycles
of radiation emitted by a caesium atom, and the metre, defined as the distance
travelled by light in a certain fraction of a second. Kg, the standard
unit of mass, remains the only basic measuring unit still defined by a
unique artefact - a cylinder of platinum and iridium kept at the International
Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) near Paris. Nearly 100 copies are
stored worldwide, and must be sent to Paris every few years for verification.
If Avogadro's number could be defined with an accuracy of 1 part in 100
million, then a kilogram could be defined in terms of atoms
t (time) [s]
l (lenght) [m]
r (radius) [m]
S (section surface) [m2]
V (volume) [m3 = 103
F (force) [N]
F (Faraday constant) = NA x e = 96500
f1->2 (molar unidirectional flow)
F (overwhelming molar flow) = int(J x dS)
NA (Avogadro's number) = 6,023 x 1023 [mol-1]
= the number of atoms in 12 g of 12C, the most common form of
v (velocity of a chemical reaction)
[depending on the order of the reaction]
Mi (molar concentration of an i ion) = mol/V [mol/L] (Mi<
and Mi> indicate the M of the compartments in which Mi
is minor and major, respectively)
e (electron charge) = 1,9 x 10-19 [C]
Q (capacity) = V/t = v x S [(mol x m2)/s]
T (absolute temperature) [°K]
calorie : any of several units of heat defined as the amount of
heat required to raise the temperature of 1 kg of water 1°C at a specified
temperature. The calorie used in chemistry and biochemistry is equal to
exactly 4.184 J. Symbol cal. NOTE: There was formerly a distinction made
between the ?small calorie,? defined above, and the ?large calorie,? written
Calorie with a capital ?C? and abbreviated Cal, which was equal to 1000
small calories or one kilocalorie. The use of the large calorie survives
only in nutrition, where calorie, now usually written with a small ?c,?
means kilocalorie when specifying the energy content of foods.
large calorie / kilocalorie (kg-cal) : the calorie used in metabolic
studies, being the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of
1 kg of water 1°C, specifically from 14.5° to 15.5°C at a pressure
of 1 atm. Also used to express the fuel or energy value of food.
gram, small or standard calorie (g-cal) : the amount of heat required
to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1°C, specifically from
14.5° to 15.5°C at a pressure of 1 atm
mean calorie : one one-hundredth of the amount of heat required
to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water from 0° to 100°C.
International Table (IT) calorie : a unit of heat, equivalent to
thermochemical calorie : a unit of heat, equivalent to 4.184 joules
hT (viscosity at absolute temperature
= T) = (F x dx) / (S x dv) [kg/(m x s)]
km (Hagen-Poiseuille's law constant) = (p
x r4) / (8hT x l)
[(m4 x s)/kg]
b (oil-water distribution coefficient)
Fm (massive flow) = Km x DP
R (perfect gas constant) = 8,31
[J/(°K x mol)]
kB (Boltzmann constant) = R / NA = 1,37 x 10-23
K (kinetic energy) = 1/2 m v2 = kB x T x a/2
f (friction coefficient) [s/(N x m3)]
Di (diffusion coefficient of an i ion) = (RT) / (NA
x f) = (kB x T) / f [m2/s]
Dmi (membrane diffusion coefficient of an i ion)
kd (free diffusion coefficient) = - Di/dx
kdm (membrane diffusion coefficient) = Dmi x b
Pi or kP (membrane permeability coefficient) = kdm
/ Dx = (Dmi x b)
/ Dx = -J/DMi
J (flow velocity) = F/S = -Pi x DMi
= - (b x Dmi x DMi)
/ Dx [mol/(m2
x s )]
ke = - (F x Mi x Di) / (R x T x dx)
[(mol x C) / (m2 x s x J)]
z (ion valence) [adimensional]
conductivity = z x ke [(mol
x C) / (m2 x s x J)]
s (membrane reflection coefficient) = (H2O
moles passed - solute moles passed) / (moles of H2O passed)
Dpc (cellular osmotic pressure) =
x s = MRTs
[kg/(m x s2)]
DVm (membrane voltage difference)
Ei (equilibrium potential for an i diffusable ion)
Wc (chemical work) [J]
We (electrical work) [J]
Ni (total number of membran channels for the i ion)
gi (open channel conductance)
P* (open channel likelihood) = (P* all activaction gate(s) are open) x
(P* all inactivation gate(s) are closed) [adimensional]
Gi (maximal membrane conductance for an i ion) = gi
gi (i ion membrane conductance) = Pi x F3
x Mi< x DVm) / (R2T2
x e -[zFDVm/(RT)]) = Gi
x P* = gi x Ni x P*
C (electrical capacity) = Q / DV
Rsm (axolemm specific resistance)
[W x m2]
Rsi (axoplasm specific resistance)
[W x m]
rm (axolemm resistance) = Rsm / (2pr)
ri (axoplasm resistance) = Rsi / (pr2)
re (ECM resistance) [W/m]
l (electrotonic decline space constant) = [rm
/ (ri + re)]1/2 = (rm/ri)1/2
= [r x (Rsm/2Rsi)]1/2
t or t1/2 (half-life)
tribology is the study of adhesion, friction, lubrication and wear
of surfaces in relative motion
light sources :
primary light sources emitt propert light
incandescent : color depends on temperature (e.g. Sun, voltaic arch)
Raman effect : when a substance is irradiated with monochromatic
light, the spectrum which the substance scatters contains, in addition
to a line of the same wavelength as the incident radiation, lines which
are satellites of the primary line moving with it when the wavelength of
the primary radiation is altered.
geometric optics (when distances
are >> l)
straight propagation of light and reciprocity of light ways
independence of light rays (perpendicular to wavefronts)
incident ray, reflexed ray, refracted ray and the line perpendicular to
incidence point lies on the same plane
incident angle (î) = reflexion angle (ê)
when incident rays passes from a medium with lower refractive index to
a medium with higher refractive index the refracted ray comes nearer to
the line perpendicular to the incidence point, and viceversa
Fermat principle : the route followed by light ray joining point
A to point B passing by dioptric media (eventually different) is that for
which the optic way (ie the sum of the products of tracts and refractive
indexes) is minimal, maximal or stationary
refractive index (n / nD) : the refractive power of a
medium compared with that of air, which is assumed to be 1
absolute refractive index (n) = vvacuum / vmedium
= c / vmedium. In solid and liquid media, n ~ 1/l.
It is a measure of a clear substance?s ability to slow photons, and thereby
bend the direction of travel of off-axis rays of light. The denser the
material, the more it will slow photons, and therefore bend the direction
vacuum of space : 1.00000
air : 1.00029
distilled water : 1.33
tears : 1.3369
seawater (average) : 1.341
acrylic resins (plastic lenses) : 1.49
crown glass : 1.52
polycarbonate : 1.586
flint glass : 1.68
rare metals (Ln, Ni, Ta) : 1.88
diamond : 2.417
relative refractive index (n1,2) = n1/n2
Refraction : n1,2 = n1/n2 = sen
î / sen ê = v1/v2 (Descartes' or Snell's
law / law of sines)
reflexion : if v1 = v2 => sen î = sen
At the separating surface between 2 different media, part of the light
is reflexed, part is refracted, and part is absorbed. If the surface is
irregular, diffusion occurs.
Optic dispersion prism :
AED triangle is similar to FOD triangle => EAF angle = a
= FOD angle. For the external angle theorema d
= GEF angle + GFE angle = (ê - FEO angle) + (î - EFO angle).
As FEO angle + EFO angle = FOD angle => d =
ê - î - a. If a
and î are small => d = (n-1) .a.
For a given opening angle a, d is minimal when
î = ê.
n1,2 = sen î / sen ê = sen (dmin
+ a) / 2] / sen(a/2)
= 1 / n2,1. In this condition dmin
= 2î - a => î = (dmin
+ a) / 2. Furthermore FEO angle = EFO angle
= ê => ê = a/2.
deviation ~ lmonochromatic radiation
used Limit angle (îlim) = arcsen(n1,2)
= that value of î for which ê = 90°, behind that total
flat mirrors : reflected images have identical size, are right and
virtual (q = -p). If 2 flat mirrors are neared with an angle = a,
the total number of reflexed images = (360°/a)
concave flat mirrors : according to bisectant theorema, IP : qI
= rP : qr. As in Gauss conditions the opening angle is small, PI
~ p and qI ~ q => p:q = (p-r) : (r-q). As f = r/(2, by dividing
both members of the equation for (p.q.r) => 1/p + 1/q = 1/f (conjugate
point formula). The transverse enlargement (G) = | f | /
( | p - f |) = | q | / | p |
if p > r => reflected images are reduced, real, and viceversed, f
< q < r (limit case : if p = r => q = r)
if f < p < r => reflected images are enlarged, real, and viceversed,
q > r (limit case : if p = f => q = infinite)
if 0 < p < f => reflected images are enlarged, virtual, and
right, on the same side of the object
convex flat mirrors (directed to side opposide to the center of
the calotte. Rays are always divergent and reflected images are always
right, reduced, and virtual.
cylindric mirrors modify images in all directions except that parallel
to the axis
parabolic mirros reflect all rays coming from a source placed in
the focus parallel to the axis, and viceversa
Electric field vectors of light can be decomposed into components perpendicular
and parallel to the inciding plane. For glass and other dielectric media,
when î = Brewster inciding angle (qB)
reflexion of parallel component is none (=> polarized light that
vibrates only in the plane perpendicular to the inciding one) and the reflexed
and refracted rays are perpendicular between them (qB
+ ê = 90°) => n1. senqB
= n2. sen (90 - qB)
= n2. cosqB
=> qB = arctg (n2,1) Sign conventions :
+ marks real, R region (space-object region), and right
- marks virtual, V region (space-image region), and virtual
Virtual image : locus of coming point of prolongements of a bundle
of divergent reflexed rays. It cannot be collected on a display but just
sensed if the eye is located along the route of the divergent bundle.
Lens : a transparent optic system consisting of 2 diopters (of
which at least one curved) that creates a real or virtual image of an object
or of an image produced by another optic system
They all have 2 curvature centres joined by the principal optic
axis (passing also for vertices, optic centre (the only
point that doesn't deviate light rays) and 2 focuses (p and
: the points where images of light sources placed on optic axis at infinite
distance form)). Lenses are termed subtle when they approximate
conditions : small aperture (angle from curvature centres), paraaxial
incident rays falling on point near the optic axis, which thickness negligible
with respect to curvature radii.
Dioptric power = (n2 - n1) / R [m-1
or diopter (D)]. It has additive property (on the contrary of f).
Convergence or power of a lens (D) = 1 / f = (n1,2
-1 ) (1/r - 1/r1). A paraaxial ray is deviated by a
~ D. The image of a point placed at a distance p from optic centre forms
at a distance q.
Conjugate points formula : 1/p + 1/q = 1/f = 2/r => q
= p .f / (p - f)
Linear or longitudinal enlargement (Gl) = f
/ (p - f) = q/p.
Images can be constructed as intersections of 2 rays emerging from
the lens : the rays parallel to the optic axis, passing by the extremities
of the object or the optic centres are chosen.
Divergent lenses (as convex mirrors) have f < 0 (a.k.a.
lenses) and always form virtual, right images with Gl <
Convergent or positive lenses (as concave mirrors) have f
> 0 (a.k.a. positive lenses) :
if p < r => reduced, real and viceversed images form, with f
< q < r (limit case : if p = r => q = r)
if f < p < r => enlarged, real, and viceversed images form,
with q > r (limit case : if p = f => q = infinite)
if 0 < p < f => enlarged, virtual, right images form, on the
same side of the object)
a lens resembling an octopus eye is made up of a sphere that consists
of hundreds of thousands of layers of plastic and could revolutionize cameras,
telescopes and spectacles. Traditional glass lenses use a curved surface
to focus incoming light towards a central point. The stronger the lens,
the more curved its surface must be and therefore the thicker and heavier
it is. In nature, eyes avoid this problem by using materials whose density
varies in a certain way. Light is bent, or refracted, when it travels between
2 substances that have different densities (or refractive indices), such
as air and water. The greater the difference between the 2 materials, the
more the light is refracted. So a flat object that has a greater refractive
index towards its edges can focus light like a curved lens. Many biological
lenses consist of up to hundreds of thousands of nanolayers, each of which
has a slightly different refractive index. The layers form a smooth density
gradient that helps to focus light. In human eyes, this lens is made up
of about 22,000 layers. But animals that live in water, which has a high
refractive index compared with air, need stronger lenses. The octopus eye,
for example, can focus light 5 times more strongly than a human eye. Plastic
films that were 50 mm thick and consisted of
roughly 6,000 nanolayers of 2 different polymers, either poly(methylmethacrylate)
(PMMA) or poly(styreneacrylonitrile), have different refractive indices,
so by varying the number of polymer nanolayers in each film, the researchers
created 100 films, each of which had a refractive index that differed from
the next by 1%. When stacked and formed into a sphere, the films created
an eye with a focusing ability equivalent to that of the octopus eye. As
the technique is developed, they will be able to create even more powerful
lenses. It's possible to create almost any refractive index. There are
several practical advantages to this type of lens: glass lenses of a comparable
strength would weigh almost 4 times as much. And a polymer lens is more
flexible: the focus can be tweaked just by altering a few of the nanolayers.
Eventually the researchers plan to use a softer plastic that will make
it easy to shift the focus of the lens by simply squeezing it. Future applications
include lightweight lenses that can be focused remotely. These could be
used for unmanned aerial vehicles and missile guidance, which will please
the research project's sponsor, the Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency. But the technology could also benefit
human vision. Baer
has already used his nanolayers to make himself a pair of glasses; they
meet his prescription, despite being absolutely flat.
magnetic field strength
1 Gauss (G) = 1 line of flux per cm2. The strength of
the earth's magnetic field at its surface is about 0.5 to 1 G, but as larger
magnetic fields have become commonplace, the unit gauss (G) has been largely
replaced by the more practical unit ...
1 Tesla (T) = 1 W/m2 = 10,000 G, where 1 Weber represents
108 flux lines.
relative hardness of a material
Knoop hardness number : calculated from the load employed and the
length of the long axis of the impression made by the rhomboidal pyramid
of a diamond pressed into the surface of the material being tested. It
is the test most commonly used in dental practice to test the hardness
Brinell hardness number : calculated after measuring the diameter
of the impression made by a steel ball pressed under a known load into
the surface of the material being tested; equal to the load in kilograms
divided by the surface area of the indentation in square millimeters.
Rockwell hardness number : determined by measuring the depth of
the impression made by a steel or diamond penetrator pressed into the surface
of the material being tested. There are a number of Rockwell hardness tests
and scales, using various combinations of loads and penetrators; the load
and penetrator combination must always be specified when stating a Rockwell
Vickers hardness number / diamond pyramid hardness : determined
by measuring the long diagonals of indentation made by pressing the pyramidal
point of a diamond into the surface of the material being tested; equal
to the load in kilograms divided by the area, in square millimeters, of
the recovered indentation
Some quantitative considerations on biological
The reason why Kd is often determined in preference to Ka,
is that determination of Ka requires the reaction to proceed
to equilibrium, whereas Kd can be derived from reactions in
which half the concentration of antigen is complexed with the antibody.
Thus [A] = [AB] and Kd = [B]. Antibodies with high affinity
have Ka > 107 M-1 and Kd <
10-7 M. Different reactions can have identical Ka
but different rate constants. k+1 can vary over the range from
105 to 108 M-1s-1. k-1
ranges from 1 to > 103 s-1. As the off rate depends
on the concentration of only one species ([AB]), there is a very simple
relation between it and the time (in seconds) taken for the complex to
dissociate to 50%: t1/2 = -ln0.5 / k-1.
the binding of a multivalent antibody
univalent ligand may be expressed as :
Ka = r / (valence - r) [Ag]free
where r = average number of Ag molecules bound per Ab molecule.
A set of values of r and [Ag]free can be obtained from a
series of experiments in which the concentration of antibody is kept constant
and from these a plot (Scatchard plot) can be constructed in which r/c
is plotted against r.
linear plot => monoclonal antibodies.
nonlinear plot => polyclonal antibodies
At saturation ([Ag]free very high) the limiting value of r is
2 for IgG and 10 (instead of the usual 5) for IgM.
multivalent ligand depends on the distance between epitopes
monogamous binding : 1 multivalent antibody binds 2 identical epitopes
on a same multivalent antigen
bigamous binding : 1 multivalent antibody binds 2 identical epitopes
on 2 different particles
The term avidity is often used to indicate the overall ability of
antibodies to interact with antigen. The term has practical value but does
not define precisely the contribution of affinity vs valency vs epitope
density to antibody-antigen binding. It merely describes the net result
of the combination of these factors to antigen binding.