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在绝缘子中发现量子行为表明可能存在新粒子

在绝缘子中发现量子行为表明可能存在新粒子

物理学 双语译文 量子
340
2021-01-12 20:41:51

Discovery of quantum behavior in insulators suggests possible new particle

在绝缘子中发现量子行为表明可能存在新粒子

by Tom Garlinghouse, Princeton University

普林斯顿大学汤姆·加林豪斯(Tom Garlinghouse

 

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A team led by Princeton physicists discovered a surprising quantum phenomenon in an atomically thin insulator made of tungsten ditelluride. The results suggest the formation of completely new types of quantum phases previously hidden in insulators. Credit: Kai Fu for the Wu Lab, Princeton University

由普林斯顿物理学家领导的一个小组在由二碲化钨制成的原子薄绝缘子中发现了令人惊讶的量子现象。结果表明,以前隐藏在绝缘体中的新型量子相的形成。图片来源:普林斯顿大学Wu实验室的Kai Fu

In a surprising discovery, Princeton physicists have observed an unexpected quantum behavior in an insulator made from a material called tungsten ditelluride. This phenomenon, known as quantum oscillation, is typically observed in metals rather than insulators, and its discovery offers new insights into our understanding of the quantum world. The findings also hint at the existence of an entirely new type of quantum particle.

在一个令人惊讶的发现中,普林斯顿大学的物理学家观察到在一种由二碲化钨材料制成的绝缘体中的意外量子行为。这种现象称为量子振荡,通常在金属而不是绝缘体中观察到,其发现为我们对量子世界的理解提供了新的见解。这些发现还暗示了一种全新的量子粒子的存在。

The discovery challenges a long-held distinction between metals and insulators, because in the established quantum theory of materials, insulators were not thought to be able to experience quantum oscillations.

这一发现挑战了金属与绝缘体之间长期存在的区别,因为在已建立的材料量子理论中,绝缘体被认为不能经历量子振荡。

"If our interpretations are correct, we are seeing a fundamentally new form of quantum matter," said Sanfeng Wu, assistant professor of physics at Princeton University and the senior author of a recent paper in Nature detailing this new discovery. "We are now imagining a wholly new quantum world hidden in insulators. It's possible that we simply missed identifying them over the last several decades."

普林斯顿大学物理学助理教授,《自然》杂志最近的一篇论文的高级作者吴三峰说:如果我们的解释正确,我们将看到一种根本上新的量子物质形式。” “我们现在正在想象一个隐藏在绝缘体中的全新量子世界。很可能我们在过去的几十年中错过了识别它们的机会。

The observation of quantum oscillations has long been considered a hallmark of the difference between metals and insulators. In metals, electrons are highly mobile, and resistivity—the

长期以来,人们一直认为观察量子振荡是金属与绝缘体之间差异的标志。在金属中,电子具有很高的迁移率,而电阻率是

resistance to electrical conduction—is weak. Nearly a century ago, researchers observed that a magnetic field, coupled with very low temperatures, can cause electrons to shift from a

导电电阻很弱。近一个世纪前,研究人员观察到,磁场和极低的温度会导致电子从

"classical" state to a quantum state, causing oscillations in the metal's resistivity. In insulators, by contrast, electrons cannot move and the materials have very high resistivity, so quantum oscillations of this sort are not expected to occur, no matter the strength of magnetic field applied.

经典状态变为量子状态,导致金属的电阻率发生振荡。相比之下,在绝缘子中,电子无法移动,并且材料的电阻率非常高,因此,无论施加的磁场强度如何,都不会发生这种量子振荡。

The discovery was made when the researchers were studying a material called tungsten ditelluride, which they made into a two-dimensional material. They prepared the material by using standard scotch tape to increasingly exfoliate, or "shave," the layers down to what is called a monolayer—a single atom-thin layer. Thick tungsten ditelluride behaves like a metal. But once it is converted to a monolayer, it becomes a very strong insulator.

这个发现是在研究人员研究一种称为二碲化钨的材料时做出的,他们将其制成二维材料。他们使用标准的透明胶带将这些层剥落或剃刮至所谓的单层-单原子薄层,从而制备出这种材料。厚的二碲化钨的行为类似于金属。但是一旦将其转换为单层,它将成为非常坚固的绝缘体。

"This material has a lot of special quantum properties," Wu said.

Wu说:这种材料具有很多特殊的量子特性。

The researchers then set about measuring the resistivity of the monolayer tungsten ditelluride under magnetic fields. To their surprise, the resistivity of the insulator, despite being quite large, began to oscillate as the magnetic field was increased, indicating the shift into a quantum state. In effect, the material—a very strong insulator—was exhibiting the most remarkable quantum property of a metal.

然后,研究人员着手测量磁场下单层二碲化钨的电阻率。令他们惊讶的是,绝缘子的电阻率尽管很大,但随着磁场的增加而开始振荡,表明已转变为量子态。实际上,这种材料-一种非常坚固的绝缘体-表现出金属最显着的量子特性。

"This came as a complete surprise," Wu said. "We asked ourselves, 'What's going on here?' We don't fully understand it yet."

吴说:这完全是一个惊喜。” “我们问自己,'这是怎么回事?'我们还不完全了解。

Wu noted that there are no current theories to explain this phenomenon.

吴指出,目前没有理论可以解释这种现象。

Nonetheless, Wu and his colleagues have put forward a provocative hypothesis—a form of quantum matter that is neutrally charged. "Because of very strong interactions, the electrons are organizing themselves to produce this new kind of quantum matter," Wu said.

尽管如此,吴和他的同事提出了一个挑衅性的假设-一种中性电荷的量子物质。吴说:由于非常强的相互作用,电子正在组织自身以产生这种新型的量子物质。

But it is ultimately no longer the electrons that are oscillating, said Wu. Instead, the researchers believe that new particles, which they have dubbed "neutral fermions," are born out of these strongly interacting electrons and are responsible for creating this highly remarkable quantum effect.

吴说,但最终不再是电子在振荡。相反,研究人员认为,被他们称为中性费米子的新粒子是由这些相互作用强的电子产生的,并负责产生这种非常出色的量子效应。

Fermions are a category of quantum particles that include electrons. In quantum materials, charged fermions can be negatively charged electrons or positively charged "holes" that are responsible for the electrical conduction. Namely, if the material is an electrical insulator, these charged fermions can't move freely. However, particles that are neutral—that is, neither negatively nor positively charged—are theoretically possible to be present and mobile in

费米子是包括电子的量子粒子的一类。在量子材料中,带电的费米子可以是带负电的电子或带正电的,它们负责导电。即,如果该材料是电绝缘体,则这些带电的费米子将无法自由移动。但是,理论上可能存在中性粒子(既不带负电荷也不带正电荷)并在其中移动

an insulator.

绝缘体。

"Our experimental results conflict with all existing theories based on charged fermions," said Pengjie Wang, co-first author on the paper and postdoctoral research associate, "but could be explained in the presence of charge-neutral fermions."

该论文的第一作者,博士后研究副研究员王鹏杰说:我们的实验结果与所有基于带电荷费米子的现有理论相抵触,但可以在存在电荷中性费米子的情况下得到解释。

The Princeton team plans further investigation into the quantum properties of tungsten ditelluride. They are particularly interested in discovering whether their hypothesis—about the existence of a new quantum particle—is valid.

普林斯顿大学的小组计划进一步研究二碲化钨的量子性质。他们对发现他们的假设(关于新量子粒子的存在)是否有效特别感兴趣。

"This is only the starting point," Wu said. "If we're correct, future researchers will find other insulators with this surprising quantum property."

吴邦国说:这仅仅是起点。” “如果我们是正确的,未来的研究人员将发现其他具有这种令人惊讶的量子性质的绝缘子。

Despite the newness of the research and the tentative interpretation of the results, Wu speculated about how this phenomenon could be put to practical use.

尽管这项研究是新颖的,并对结果进行了初步的解释,但Wu仍在推测如何将该现象付诸实践。

"It's possible that neutral fermions could be used in the future for encoding information that would be useful in quantum computing," he said. "In the meantime, though, we're still in the very early stages of understanding quantum phenomena like this, so fundamental discoveries have to be made."

他说:未来可能会使用中性费米子来编码对量子计算有用的信息。” “但是,与此同时,我们仍处于了解这样的量子现象的早期阶段,因此必须做出基本的发现。


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