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A small team of researchers at Purdue University has found the strongest evidence yet of the existence of abelian anyons. They have written a paper describing experiments they conducted designed to reveal the existence of the quasiparticles and have uploaded it to the arXiv preprint server while they await peer review.

 

 

Anyons are neither bosons nor fermions—in fact, they are not elementary particles at all. Instead, they are classified as quasiparticles that exist in two dimensions. They can be observed, theoretically speaking, when they appear as disturbances in two-dimensional sheets of materials. Theoretical physicists have suggested their existence since the late 1970s and they were officially named by Frank Wilczek in the early 1980s. Theory has also suggested that they braid, but in ways differently than bosons or fermions. If a fermion or a boson were dragged around another of its kind, theory suggests, the action would not produce a record of what had occurred. But because anyons alter , they would create such a record. The process involves inserting a phase into the wave function of the particles. In this new effort, the researchers created a device that allowed them to see evidence of such a record.

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Category: Science