Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Experiments in the realm of the impossible

27.05.2015

Physicists of Jena University (Germany) simulate for the first time charged Majorana particles – elementary particles, which are not supposed to exist

March 1938: The Italian elementary particle physicist Ettore Majorana boarded a post ship in Naples, heading for Palermo. But he either never arrives there - or he leaves the city straight away – ever since that day there has been no trace of the exceptional scientist and until today his mysterious disappearance remains unresolved.


Alexander Szameit and his team developed a photonic set-up that can simulate non-physical processes in a laboratory.

Photo: Jan-Peter Kasper/FSU

Since then, Majorana, a pupil of the Nobel Prize winner Enrico Fermi, has more or less been forgotten. What the scientific world does remember though is a theory about nuclear forces, which he developed, and a very particular elementary particle.

“This particle named after Majorana, the so-called Majoranon, has some amazing characteristics“, the physicist Professor Dr. Alexander Szameit of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena says. “Characteristics which are not supposed to be existent in our real world.“

Majorana particles are, for instance, their own antiparticles: Internally they combine completely opposing characteristics – like opposing charges and spins. If they were to exist, they would extinguish themselves immediately. “Therefore, Majoranons are of an entirely theoretical nature and cannot be measured in experiments.“

Together with colleagues from Austria, India, and Singapore, Alexander Szameit and his team succeeded in realizing the impossible. In the new edition of the science magazine 'Optica' they explain their approach: Szameit and his team developed a photonic set-up that consists of complex waveguide circuits engraved in a glass chip, which enables them to simulate charged Majorana particles and, thus, allows to conduct physical experiments.

“At the same time we send two rays of light through parallel running waveguide lattices, which show the opposing characteristics separately,“ explains Dr. Robert Keil, the first author of the study. After evolution through the lattices, the two waves interfere and form an optical Majoranon, which can be measured as a light distribution. Thus, the scientists create an image that catches this effect like a photograph – in this case the state of a Majoranon at a defined moment in time. “With the help of many of such single images the particles can be observed like in a film and their behaviour can be analyzed,“ says Keil.

This model allows the Jena scientists to enter completely unknown scientific territory, as Alexander Szameit stresses. “Now, it is possible for us to gain access to phenomena that so far only have been described in exotic theories.“ With the help of this system, one can conduct experiments in which conservation of charge – one of the pillars of modern physics – can easily be suspended. “Our results show that one can simulate non-physical processes in a laboratory and, thus, can make practical use of exotic characteristics of particles that are impossible to observe in nature.“ Szameit foresees one particular promising application of simulated Majoranons in a new generation of quantum computers. “With this approach, much higher computing capacities than are possible at the moment can be achieved.“

Original Publication:
Keil R. et al. Optical simulation of charge conservation violation and Majorana dynamics. Optica, Vol. 2, Issue 5, pp. 454-459 (2015), doi: 10.1364/OPTICA.2.000454

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Alexander Szameit
Institute of Applied Physics
Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Albert-Einstein-Strasse 15, 07745 Jena
Germany
Phone: ++49 3641 947985
Email: alexander.szameit[at]uni-jena.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.uni-jena.de

Dr. Ute Schönfelder |

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Scientists reach back in time to discover some of the most power-packed galaxies
28.02.2017 | Clemson University

nachricht From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'
23.02.2017 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists reach back in time to discover some of the most power-packed galaxies

28.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nano 'sandwich' offers unique properties

28.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Light beam replaces blood test during heart surgery

28.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>