We encounter phase transitions in our everyday lives when we witness water freezing or boiling. Similarly, quantum systems at a temperature of absolute zero also experience phase transitions. The pressure or magnetic field applied to such systems can be adjusted so that these systems arrive at a tipping point between two phases. At this point quantum fluctuations, rather than temperature fluctuations, drive these transitions.
Many fascinating phenomena with promising technological applications in areas such as superconductivity are linked to quantum phase transitions, but the role of quantum fluctuations in such transitions remains unclear.
(a) Spin and orbital degrees of freedom of electron in a carbon nanotube quantum dot is shown by the straight blue arrows and circle purple arrows, respectively. We can control the number of electrons in the quantum dot one by one by the nearby gate electrode (not shown in the figure). (b) Because of the spin and orbital degrees of freedom, an SU(4) Kondo state is formed at zero magnetic field as shown in the bottom panel. At high magnetic field it evolves continuously to an SU(2) Kondo effect (top panel).
Credit: Osaka University
While there have been many advances in understanding the behavior of individual particles such as protons, neutrons, and photons, the challenge of understanding systems containing many particles that strongly interact with one another has yet to be solved.
Now, an international research team led by a group at Osaka University has discovered a clear link between quantum fluctuations and the effective charge of current-carrying particles. This discovery will help researchers uncover how quantum fluctuations govern systems in which many particles interact.
One example of such a system is the interaction of electrons at extremely low temperatures. While low temperatures normally cause the resistance in a metal to drop, the resistance rises again at extremely low temperatures due to small magnetic impurities--this is referred to as the Kondo effect.
"We used a magnetic field to tune the Kondo state in a carbon nanotube, ensuring that the quantum fluctuations were the only variable in the system," study coauthor Kensuke Kobayashi says. "By directly monitoring the conductance and shot noise of the carbon nanotube, we were able to demonstrate a continuous crossover between Kondo states with different symmetries."
Using this novel approach, the researchers discovered a link between quantum fluctuations and the effective charge of current-carrying particles, e*. The discovery means that measurements of e* can be used to quantify quantum fluctuations.
"This is very exciting, as it paves the way for future investigations into the exact role of quantum fluctuations in quantum phase transitions," explains Professor Kobayashi. Understanding quantum phase transitions has the potential to enable many interesting applications in areas such as superconductivity, Mott insulators, and the fractional quantum Hall effect.
Saori Obayashi | EurekAlert!
Electronic evidence of non-Fermi liquid behaviors in an iron-based superconductor
11.12.2018 | Science China Press
Physicists edge closer to controlling chemical reactions
11.12.2018 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.
Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.
Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...
New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals
Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.
Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.
Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
03.12.2018 | Event News
11.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
11.12.2018 | Materials Sciences
11.12.2018 | Information Technology