Electrical dipole activity detected in a quantum material unlike any other tested
A theorized but never-before detected property of quantum matter has now been spotted in the lab, a team of scientists reports.
The team proved that a particular quantum material can demonstrate electrical dipole fluctuations - irregular oscillations of tiny charged poles on the material - even in extremely cold conditions, in the neighborhood of minus 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
The material, first synthesized 20 years ago, is called k-(BEDT-TTF)2Hg(SCN)2 Br. It is derived from organic compounds, but behaves like a metal.
"What we found with this particular quantum material is that, even at super-cold temperatures, electrical dipoles are still present and fluctuate according to the laws of quantum mechanics," said Natalia Drichko, associate research professor in physics at the Johns Hopkins University.
"Usually, we think of quantum mechanics as a theory of small things, like atoms, but here we observe that the whole crystal is behaving quantum-mechanically," said Drichko, senior author of a paper on the research published in the journal Science.
Classical physics describes most of the behavior of physical objects we see and experience in everyday life. In classical physics, objects freeze at extremely low temperatures, Drichko said. In quantum physics - science that has grown up primarily to describe the behavior of matter and energy at the atomic level and smaller - there is motion even at those frigid temperatures, Drichko said.
"That's one of the major differences between classical and quantum physics that condensed matter physicists are exploring," she said.
An electrical dipole is a pair of equal but oppositely charged poles separated by some distance. Such dipoles can, for instance, allow a hair to "stick" to a comb through the exchange of static electricity: Tiny dipoles form on the edge of the comb and the edge of the hair.
Drichko's research team observed the new extreme-low-temperature electrical state of the quantum matter in Drichko's Raman spectroscopy lab, where the key work was done by graduate student Nora Hassan. Team members shined focused light on a small crystal of the material. Employing techniques from other disciplines, including chemistry and biology, they found proof of the dipole fluctuations.
The study was possible because of the team's home-built, custom-engineered spectrometer, which increased the sensitivity of the measurements 100 times.
The unique quantum effect the team found could potentially be used in quantum computing, a type of computing in which information is captured and stored in ways that take advantage of the quantum states of matter.
Drichko's lab is a part of Johns Hopkins' Institute for Quantum Matter. The U.S. Department of Energy (grant DE-FG02-08ER46544) funds the institute's research. Besides Drichko and Hassan, members of the research team for this study were from Johns Hopkins, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Institute of Problems of Chemical Physics in Russia, the National Science Foundation and Argonne National Laboratory.
Jon Schroeder | EurekAlert!
Supporting structures of wind turbines contribute to wind farm blockage effect
13.12.2019 | American Institute of Physics
Chinese team makes nanoscopy breakthrough
13.12.2019 | Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters
Vaccinia viruses serve as a vaccine against human smallpox and as the basis of new cancer therapies. Two studies now provide fascinating insights into their unusual propagation strategy at the atomic level.
For viruses to multiply, they usually need the support of the cells they infect. In many cases, only in their host’s nucleus can they find the machines,...
More than one hundred and fifty years have passed since the publication of James Clerk Maxwell's "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field" (1865). What would our lives be without this publication?
It is difficult to imagine, as this treatise revolutionized our fundamental understanding of electric fields, magnetic fields, and light. The twenty original...
In a joint experimental and theoretical work performed at the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, an international team of physicists detected for the first time an orbital crossing in the highly charged ion Pr⁹⁺. Optical spectra were recorded employing an electron beam ion trap and analysed with the aid of atomic structure calculations. A proposed nHz-wide transition has been identified and its energy was determined with high precision. Theory predicts a very high sensitivity to new physics and extremely low susceptibility to external perturbations for this “clock line” making it a unique candidate for proposed precision studies.
Laser spectroscopy of neutral atoms and singly charged ions has reached astonishing precision by merit of a chain of technological advances during the past...
The ability to investigate the dynamics of single particle at the nano-scale and femtosecond level remained an unfathomed dream for years. It was not until the dawn of the 21st century that nanotechnology and femtoscience gradually merged together and the first ultrafast microscopy of individual quantum dots (QDs) and molecules was accomplished.
Ultrafast microscopy studies entirely rely on detecting nanoparticles or single molecules with luminescence techniques, which require efficient emitters to...
Graphene, a two-dimensional structure made of carbon, is a material with excellent mechanical, electronic and optical properties. However, it did not seem suitable for magnetic applications. Together with international partners, Empa researchers have now succeeded in synthesizing a unique nanographene predicted in the 1970s, which conclusively demonstrates that carbon in very specific forms has magnetic properties that could permit future spintronic applications. The results have just been published in the renowned journal Nature Nanotechnology.
Depending on the shape and orientation of their edges, graphene nanostructures (also known as nanographenes) can have very different properties – for example,...
03.12.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
13.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2019 | Materials Sciences