(ORDO NEWS) — Sometimes discovering new physics requires an insane amount of energy. Big cars. Gorgeous equipment. Countless hours of sifting through piles of data.
Sometimes the right combination of materials can open the door to invisible worlds in a space little more than a countertop.
Take it new. for example, with respect to the Higgs boson. It was found hidden in a piece of layered tellurium crystals at room temperature.
Unlike its famous cousin, it didn’t take years of particle smashing to discover it. Just clever use of some lasers and a trick to unravel the quantum properties of their photons.
“It’s not every day that you find a new particle on the table,” says Kenneth Burch, a physicist at Boston College and lead co-author of the study that announced the particle’s discovery.
Birch and his colleagues noticed what is known as the axial Higgs mode, a quantum fluctuation that technically qualifies as a new type of particle.
Like many discoveries in quantum physics, seeing theoretical quantum behavior in action brings us closer to finding potential cracks in the Standard Model and even helps us focus on solving some of the remaining big mysteries.
“In high-energy particle physics, the discovery of the axial Higgs boson has been predicted to explain dark matter,” Burch says.
“However, he was never observed. Its appearance in the system of condensed matter was completely unexpected and foreshadowed the discovery of a new state with broken symmetry, which was not there before. was foretold.”
It’s been 10 years since the Higgs boson was officially identified amidst the particle collision carnage by CERN researchers.
This not only put an end to the particle hunt, but also partially closed the last box of the Standard Model – the zoo of fundamental particles that make up a natural set of bricks and mortar.
With the discovery of the Higgs field, we could finally validate our understanding of how the components of the model gained mass at rest. It was a huge victory for physics, which we still use to understand the inner mechanics of matter.
Although any single particle of the Higgs boson exists for only a fraction of a second, it is a particle in the truest sense of the word. words, briefly flashed in reality as a discrete excitation in a quantum field.
However, there are other circumstances under which particles can be given mass. Disrupting the collective behavior of the ejection of electrons, called, for example, a charge density wave, could help.
This “Frankenstein monster” version of the Higgs, called the Higgs mode, can also manifest itself with traits that its less patchwork cousin doesn’t have, such as a finite degree of angular momentum (or spin).
Spin-1 or the axial Higgs mode not only does the same job as the Higgs boson. under very specific circumstances, it (and similar quasiparticles) can provide an interesting basis for studying the shadow mass of dark matter.
As a quasiparticle, the axial Higgs mode can only be seen as a result of the collective behavior of the crowd. To detect it, you need to know its signature among the flow of quantum waves, and then have a way to sift it out of this chaos.
By shooting perfectly coherent beams of light from two lasers through such a material, and then watching for telltale signals.
Unlike the extreme conditions normally required to observe new particles, this was done at room temperature. in a tabletop experiment where we achieve quantum mode control by simply changing the polarization of the light,” Burch says.
Perhaps there could be many other similar particles emerging from a tangle of body parts creating exotic quantum materials. Being able to easily see their shadow in the light of a laser opens up a whole list of new physics.
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