'Angel particle' discovered after 80-year-long hunt

After 80 years of searches, the “Angel Particle” was discovered – It is both matter and antimatter

After 80 years of searches, the “Angel Particle” was discovered – It is both matter and antimatter

The Majorana fermion, however, is a odd exception that can simultaneously exist both as a particle and as its own antiparticle. Typically, when a particle - the basic building block of matter - and an antiparticle - its identical twin but with an opposite charge - collide, they will annihilate each other, releasing a burst of energy.

In a first-of-its-kind breakthrough, a team of researchers from the University of California in a joint venture with Stanford University scientists has tracked down an elusive "Angel Particle" which is both its matter and anti-matter.

"But they put together several elements that had never been put together before, and engineering things so this new kind of quantum particle can be observed in a clean, robust way is a real milestone". In 1937, physicist Ettore Majorana predicted that in the class of particles known as fermions, which includes the proton, neutron, electron, neutrino and quark, there should be particles that are their own antiparticles.

After 80 years, a team of researchers may have found the first solid evidence for the Majorana fermion - a particle that is also its own antiparticle. Study results are available in the journal Science.

Majorana fermions could be used to construct robust quantum computers that are not thrown off by environmental noise, which has been a big obstacle to their development.

Since each Majorana fermion can behave like half of a subatomic particle, a single qubit could theoretically be stored in two widely separated fermions, decreasing the chance of both fermions being disturbed and losing their data, Zhang said.

Frank Wilczek, a theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in an evaluation of the experiment: "It's not fundamentally surprising, because physicists have thought for a long time that Majorana fermions could arise out of the types of materials used in this experiment".

The fermion observed by the team is known as a "chiral" fermion as it moves in just one direction along a one-dimensional path. This is a behavior characteristic of these particles.

This could lead to new and more stable quantum computers, he said.

Scientists claim to have found firm evidence of the existence of the Majorana fermion particle.

In their series of experiments, the team from UC-Irvine, and UCLA stacked superconductor and magnetic topological insulator films together with the former on top and sent an electrical current through them while inside a chilled vacuum chamber. Angel particles are a third form of matter made of both matter and anti-matter.

Then the researchers swept a magnet over the stack. He also stresses that even if they are not the same, there could still be something to be learned from one to understand the other. Unlike in the book, he noted, in the quantum world of the Majorana fermion there are only angels - no demons.

Notícias recomendadas

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.