BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Many decades ago, scientists discovered each particle can have an antiparticle and, sometimes, a particle can be its own antiparticle. However, there was no evidence for the latter theory. Now, scientists managed to find the first solid piece of evidence in favor of the existence of this particle, called the Majorana fermion.
What is the Majorana fermion?
An antiparticle is identical to its corresponding particle, but it has the opposite charge. This theory has been proved true by the discovery of the positron, the first antimatter particle and the antiparticle of the electron.
A scientist called Ettore Majorana claimed that a particle can also be its own antiparticle. Such a particle has been dubbed the Majorana fermion. However, the scientist lacked proof to support this assumption, and other researchers couldn’t obtain the fermion experimentally.
Now, a team of researchers managed to get a clear image of a Majorana fermion, and their findings have been published in the journal Science. They were able to predict where to find such a particle, and how to detect it by identifying its signature.
How did the scientists obtain this particle?
They took two quantum materials and inserted them in a vacuum chamber with a lower temperature. Then, they sent some electrical current through these thin films of material. Afterwards, they combined these materials together, and obtained an environment where electrons can zip along two edges of this material without showing any resistance.
By using a magnetic field, they influenced the moving pattern of these electrons. At this point, they were able to see how fermions emerged. They perform the same movements as the electrons, but at half of their steps. This is when researchers could tell what they were, as they exhibited the behavior typical of the Majorana fermion.
This is a big discovery, not only for its scientific value, but also for its other uses. These particles might help scientists develop more advanced quantum computing systems not easy to perturb. Storing information in a Majorana fermion should be safer.
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