Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ultimate chill: The epic race to reach absolute zero

Ultimate chill: The epic race to reach absolute zero

We can also use the incomparably pure quantum-dominated environments of ultra-cold materials to model extreme conditions in the interior of a neutron star, fundamental particle interactions, and phase transitions in the earliest moments of the universe. At low temperatures, electrons interact to create fundamental excitations – sometimes called quasiparticles – with a mass up to a thousand times that of a free electron, much as fundamental particles in free space acquire mass by interaction with the Higgs field. Similarly, quasiparticle excitations in superconductors have recently been shown to behave like Majorana particles, long-predicted objects that are their own antiparticles.

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