Evidence Reveals New Property Of Quantum Matter

Posted: Jun 19 2018, 10:01am CDT | by , in Latest Science News

Evidence Reveals New Property Of Quantum Matter
Credit: Institute for Quantum Matter/JHU

For the First Time, Scientists Detect Electrical Dipole Activity in Quantum Material.

During a lab experiment that was performed at Johns Hopkins University, a new property of quantum matter was discovered by the team of scientists.

During the lab experiment, the scientists discovered that quantum matter exhibited electrical dipole fluctuations even at very cold temperatures, the experiment was carried out in test conditions of minus 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Even at this temperature, the scientists observed irregular oscillatory movement at the poles of the quantum matter.

"What we found with this particular quantum material is that, even at super-cold temperatures, electric 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 like a quantum-mechanically," said Drichko, senior author of a paper on the research published in the journal Science.

The test material was first synthesized around 20 years ago, it is technically known as k-(BEDT-TTF)2Hg(SCN)2 Br. Although this quantum matter was synthesized from organic materials, it showed the behavior of metal compounds.

“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.”

"That's one of the major differences between classical and quantum physics that condensed matter physicists are exploring," she said.

Electrical dipoles are opposite and equal positive and negative charges that are separated by a very small distance; a permanent dipole is also known as an electret. It is this phenomenon that produces static charge in hairs and a comb, many of us must have observed a charged comb sticking hairs to itself.

This happens due to the exchange of static electricity between the comb and hairs while combing.

For this experiment, the team engineered and developed a special spectrometer; this new device could measure the sensitivity levels of the matter by 100 times more as compared with normal spectrometers.

The team members also stated that this new discovery holds a potential for quantum computing, which utilizes quantum-mechanical properties like entanglement and superposition of a matter for computations.

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