A team of physicists at the University of Cologne has, for the first time, seen a particularly exotic behaviour of electrons on an atomic scale. Electrons normally move almost freely through three-dimensional space. However, when they are forced to move in only one dimension, i.e., in a chain of atoms, they begin to act strangely. The Tomonaga-Luttinger liquid theory predicted this decades ago. In the lab, however, this phenomenon has so far only been shown indirectly.
An international research team led by Professor Dr. Thomas Michely at the University of Cologne's Institute of Physics II has now produced one-dimensional wires, allowing them to witnessthebehaviour of trapped electrons in 1-D with the scanning tunneling microscope. They report on their discovery in the journal Physical Review X.