The finding could have applications in quantum-level digital storage systems.
Little by little but insistently, scientists continue to reveal the mysteries that are hidden in the always counterintuitive and chaotic quantum universe. What else can you teach us? Now, researchers from the University of Massachusetts, United States discovered a new state of matter, which was named as the “chiral Bose liquid state”.
In everyday life we are familiar with three states of matter: liquid, solid, and gas. There are others such as plasma, time crystals and the Bose-Einstein condensate but they occur in more exotic and extreme conditions. Like the newly discovered
Each finding allows scientists to learn more about the fabric and mechanisms of the Universe that surrounds us, and in particular, the quantum world, the universe of the supersmall. The states of matter describe how particles can interact with each other, giving rise to structures and various forms of behavior. The researchers discovered the new state through a frustrated quantum system. In simple terms, it’s a system with built-in constraints that prevent particles from interacting as they normally would (hence the frustrating).
The arrangement and behavior of particles or spins become very complex in the quantum Universe and can give rise to emergent phenomena and new states of matter. To make the new finding, the scientists focused on electrons and used the analogy of a board game to explain what is happening. “It’s like a game of musical chairs, designed to frustrate electrons,” said theoretical condensed matter physicist Tigran Sedrakyan of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “Instead of each electron having a chair to go to, they now have to move around and have many possibilities where they can sit,” Sedrakyan added. leader of the team that conducted the research, which was published in the journal Nature.
The system that the researchers put together was a semiconductor device with two layers: the upper one rich in electrons, through which they can move freely, and the lower one with holes, where some of these electrons can fall. By joining the two layers together at interatomic levels, scientists can interact with electrons, like in the game of chairs. They just have to incorporate a different number of electrons and holes, to thwart the electrons.
Instead of each electron ending up in a hole, they will have the possibility to choose “the chair they want to sit in”, thus emerging the new chiral Bose liquid state.
This new state revealed some pretty interesting properties. For example, electrons will freeze in a predictable pattern and fixed spin direction at absolute zero and cannot be interfered with by other particles or magnetic fields. That stability could have applications in quantum-level digital storage systems.
Furthermore, foreign particles that affect one electron can affect all the electrons in the system, thanks to relatively long-range quantum entanglement. It’s like smashing a cue ball into a pack of billiard balls and all those balls are traveling in the same direction, another finding that could be useful.
“We will continue to find quantum states of matter in these fringes, and they will be much wilder than the three classical states we find in our everyday lives,” Sedrakyan said.