‘Light Speed’ Electrons Discovered Moving in 4 Dimensions For The First Time

Physicists led by Ryuhei Oka at Ehime University have successfully isolated Dirac electrons in a superconducting polymer, advancing our understanding of these unique quantum particles. Dirac electrons, which behave as if they are massless and can move at the speed of light, are crucial for the study of topological materials, which have potential applications in quantum computing. These electrons, predicted by Paul Dirac’s equations nearly a century ago, have been difficult to study due to their coexistence with standard electrons.

The team employed electron spin resonance to distinguish Dirac electrons from their standard counterparts. This technique takes advantage of the magnetic properties of electrons to alter their spin state, allowing for the direct observation of Dirac electrons’ behavior. The researchers discovered that the motion of Dirac electrons is not constant but varies with temperature and the angle of the magnetic field within the material.

This finding, which requires a four-dimensional description including three spatial dimensions and the electron’s energy level, provides a new understanding of Dirac electrons’ properties. The research, offering insights into the behavior of these electrons, could be instrumental in developing future technologies and has been published in the journal Materials Advances.
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