Possible evidence for particles that are their own antiparticles has been found.

Okay, why is that interesting? Well, every elemental particle has a corresponding antiparticle, which is almost exactly the same but has an opposite charge: such as an electron (negatively charged) and a positron (positively charged). Majorana fermions were predicted back in 1937 by Ettore Majorana, and if they exist they may be useful in creating quauntum computers.

To create a device that would have both the right material and a means of measuring Majorana fermions, the team connected an indium antimonide nanowire in between an electrode made of gold and the end of a superconducting material. They then placed the result onto a silicon substrate which had been preprinted with logic circuits to allow for reading the electronic properties of the nanowire. With the stage set, the team then cooled the device to just fractions of degrees above absolute zero and then introduced a magnetic field at one point and additional current at another. In both instances, the researchers found that at two points along the wire, their device registered a strong response at just the places where Majorana fermions were predicted to occur. The responses in effect showed that the particles didn’t move when in the presence of a magnetic field or an electric current, because they are electrically neutral.

Granted, it isn’t confirmed yet, but it matches the theoretical predictions so far. And even if it doesn’t actually end up being much use, it’s still a discovery!


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About Philip

I'm a physics graduate, sci-fi writer, budding game designer, and amateur human.

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