Sep 18, 2020

The observation of Bloch ferromagnetism in composite fermions

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Composite fermions are exotic quasi-particles found in interacting 2-D fermion systems at relatively large perpendicular magnetic fields. These quasi-particles, which are composed of an electron and two magnetic flux quanta, have often been used to describe a physical phenomenon known as the fractional quantum Hall effect.

Researchers at Princeton University and Pennsylvania State University recently used composite to test a theory introduced by physicist Felix Bloch almost a century ago, suggesting that at very low densities, a paramagnetic Fermi “sea” of electrons should spontaneously transition to a fully magnetized state, which is now referred to as Bloch ferromagnetism. Their paper, published in Nature Physics, provides evidence of an abrupt transition to full magnetization that is closely aligned with the state theorized by Bloch.

“Composite fermions are truly remarkable,” Mansour Shayegan, professor of Electrical Engineering at Princeton University and one of the researchers who carried out the study, told Phys.org. “They are born of interaction and magnetic flux, and yet they map such a complex system to a simple collection of quasi-particles that to a large degree behave as non-interacting and also behave as if they don’t feel the large magnetic field. One of their most interesting properties is their spin polarization.”

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