Oct 19, 2021

Experiments reveal formation of a new state of matter: Electron quadruplets

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, quantum physics

The central principle of superconductivity is that electrons form pairs. But can they also condense into foursomes? Recent findings have suggested they can, and a physicist at KTH Royal Institute of Technology today published the first experimental evidence of this quadrupling effect and the mechanism by which this state of matter occurs.

Reporting today in Nature Physics, Professor Egor Babaev and collaborators presented evidence of fermion quadrupling in a series of experimental measurements on the iron-based material, Ba1−x Kx Fe2As2. The results follow nearly 20 years after Babaev first predicted this kind of phenomenon, and eight years after he published a paper predicting that it could occur in the material.

The pairing of electrons enables the quantum state of superconductivity, a zero-resistance state of conductivity which is used in MRI scanners and quantum computing. It occurs within a material as a result of two electrons bonding rather than repelling each other, as they would in a vacuum. The phenomenon was first described in a theory by, Leon Cooper, John Bardeen and John Schrieffer, whose work was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1972.

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