Friday, February 28, 2014

Quantum Dropleton: Weird New Particle Acts Like Liquid

dropleton illustration 

Physicists created the new dropleton particles with fast laswer pulses.
Physicists can spend years seeking new particles to illuminate aspects of nature's laws, but an international team decided instead to make their own particles.

Called a dropleton or quantum droplet, the newly created "particle" is actually a short-lived cluster of electrons and positive charges called "holes." Like other so-called quasiparticles, dropletons act like single particles.

At the Philipps-University of Marburg, Germany, and Joint Institute for Lab Astrophysics at the University of Colorado, researchers made an agglomeration of electrons and holes that was bigger than any created before — 200 nanometers, or billionths of a meter, across. That is almost big enough to see with a good microscope, about one-50th the thickness of a cotton fiber. Before now, physicists had created two-pair groups of electrons and holes, but never such an agglomeration that could form this liquid-like quantum droplet or dropleton. [Wacky Physics: The Coolest Little Particles in Nature
These dropletons behave according to the rules of quantum physics, and that means scientists can use the particles to investigate how light interacts with matter — a process also governed by quantum rules.

Because the dropletons are so large, in particle terms, they might also help physicists locate the boundaries between the quantum world of the very small and the classical world of the human scale, the physicists report in the Feb. 27 issue of the journal Nature.

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