- Science & Tech
There’s a new bond in town, and this secret agent works best in extreme situations.
The bond, of the chemical variety, occurs in the presence of very strong magnetic fields, such as those found around ultra-dense white dwarf stars. Its discovery not only demonstrates the existence of an unfamiliar and exotic type of chemistry, it may also give insight into the behaviours of these mysterious stellar bodies.
White dwarfs are the remnant cores of low-mass stars that have exhausted all their fuel. They are thought to be the final state for most of the stars in our galaxy. Though they have masses comparable to that of our sun, white dwarfs only occupy the same amount of space as a small planet like Earth, making them incredibly dense.
They also exhibit super-strong magnetic fields on the order of 100,000 tesla – 10 billion times greater than Earth’s magnetic field, and 10 million times greater than that of an average refrigerator magnet. This intense field can affect the behaviour of the electrons that make up chemical bonds.