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In the extraordinary world of electrons, these are the most surprising. four dimensions are required to understand them

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By parm maan

Particle physics never ceases to amaze us. The discovery we propose to explore in this article is headed by one of the most exciting elementary particles of all. the electronhowever, it was not carried out by CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), the prestigious particle physics laboratory located near Geneva, Switzerland.

No less respected by the Fermi Laboratory in the USA. Its leaders are researchers from Ehime University in Japan, led by physicist Ryuhei Oka. This statement by Domenico DiSante, one of the researchers involved in the first measurement of electron spin, clearly expresses what we have at hand:

“The behavior of electrons in materials is determined by several quantum properties that determine how they spin in the material they are a part of. This phenomenon is similar to how the path that light travels “As it travels through space, it is altered by the presence of stars, black holes, dark matter, or dark energy, which are able to bend the space-time continuum.”


The Dirac electrons have reappeared

Di Sante's reflection predisposes us to fully immerse ourselves in the discovery that Oka and his colleagues made. And these Japanese scientists have managed to discover many unique electrons known to physicists as “Dirac electrons” in a superconducting polymer known as Bis(ethylenedithiolo) tetrathiafulvalene.

The name of this material is not pronounced, it is true, but what really matters is that these electrons are there very strict conditions in which they lack effective mass, which allows them to behave like photons and thus oscillate at the speed of light.

This is not the first time physicists have discovered these elusive electrons. Other researchers have found them in graphene as well as other topological materials, but the discovery of these Japanese physicists could be very valuable when it comes to better understanding the latter's properties.

Topological materials are characterized by exhibiting different electrical properties on their surface and interior due to the topology of their electronic structure.

Note before proceeding. Topological materials are characterized by different electrical properties on their surface and inside due to: the topology of its electronic structure. In recent decades, they have been studied by many researchers because they can be very useful in advanced applications of quantum computing or electronics.

To find these unique electrons in a superconducting polymer, which I mentioned a few lines above, Oka's group developed a very ingenious strategy. In general, it requires applying a magnetic field to the material under study with the ability to interact with and modify the spin of any unpaired electrons. This technique actually allows physicists to identify and observe unpaired electrons.

Before we go any further, we are interested to know that an unpaired electron is an electron whose spin is not compensated by another electron of opposite spin in the same atom or molecule. On the other hand, spin is a quantum phenomenon, so it is not entirely correct to describe it as ordinary rotational motion in space. Even then, for an eminently didactic purpose, we can treat it as an intrinsic property of elementary particles, like the electric charge derived from their angular momentum.

Spin is a quantum phenomenon, so it's not entirely accurate to describe it as a simple spinning motion in space.

During their experiment, Oka and his colleagues realized something important. if they wanted to understand the behavior of Dirac electrons, they had to describe them in four dimensions. The first three are the spatial dimensions we are all familiar with, and the fourth is made up of the energy levels of the electron.

In a scientific article published in Materials Advances, these physicists explain that thanks to this multidimensional strategy, they realized that the speed of movement of these electrons; was not permanent; It depended on the temperature and the angle of the magnetic field inside the material. Its discovery is important in that it helps physicists better understand the behavior of Dirac electrons, but it could also revolutionize the study of topological materials.

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