Physicists have reported what could be the first incontrovertible evidence for the existence of unusual particle-like objects called anyons, which were first proposed more than 40 years ago. Anyons are the latest addition to a growing family of phenomena called quasiparticles, which are not elementary particles, but are instead collective excitations of many electrons in solid devices. Their discovery—made using a 2D electronic device—could represent the first steps towards making anyons the basis of future quantum computers.


“This does look like a very big deal,” says Steven Simon, a theoretical physicist at the University of Oxford, UK. The results, which have not yet been peer-reviewed, were posted on the arXiv preprint repository last week.

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