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For the first time, physicists have built a two-dimensional experimental system that allows them to study the physical properties of materials that were theorized to exist only in four-dimensional space. An international team of researchers from Penn State, ETH Zurich in Switzerland, the University of Pittsburgh, and the Holon Institute of Technology in Israel have demonstrated that the behavior of particles of light can be made to match predictions about the four-dimensional version of the "quantum Hall effect" -- a phenomenon that has been at the root of three Nobel Prizes in physics -- in a two-dimensional array of "waveguides."

A paper describing the research appears January 4, 2018 in the journal Nature along with a paper from a separate group from Germany that shows that a similar mechanism can be used to make a gas of ultracold atoms exhibit four-dimensional quantum Hall physics as well.

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Category: Science