There is your table it is composed of different individual atoms, but from a distance its surface is smooth. This simple idea underlies all of our models of the physical world. We can describe what is happening in general without delving into the intricate interactions between each atom and electron.
So when a new theoretical state of matter was discovered, the microscopic features remain stubborn on all scales, many physicists refused to believe in its existence.
“When I heard about Fracton, I said that it couldn’t be true in any way, because how the systems behave completely challenges my prejudice,” he said. Nathan Seiberg, Theoretical Physicist at the Princeton (New Jersey) Institute for Advanced Research. “But I was wrong. I realized I was living in denial. “
Fracton’s theoretical possibility surprised physicists in 2011. Lately, these strange states of matter have been shifting to new theoretical frameworks that can help physicists deal with some of the most serious problems in basic physics.
Fractons are quasiparticles, particle-like entities that arise from the intricate interactions between many basic particles within a material. But the fractals are weird, even when compared other exotic quasiparticles, because they are completely immovable or able to move only in a limited way. There is nothing in their environment that prevents the fractions from moving; rather it is their own property. The microscopic structure of Fracton means that it affects long-distance behavior.
“It simply came to our notice then. It’s the weirdest phase of the matter for me, ”he said Xie Chen, A condensed matter theorist at the California Institute of Technology.
2011n, Jeongwan Haah, then a Caltech graduate student, was looking for unusual phases of matter that were so stable could be used to secure quantum memory, even at room temperature. Using a computer algorithm, he created a new theoretical phase called the Haah code. The phase immediately attracted the attention of other physicists because the quasiparticles that make it up are immovable strange particles.
It seemed that, individually, the particles were empty particles, capable of moving only in combination. Soon, more theoretical phases with similar characteristics were found, and so in 2015 with Haah Sagar Vijay and Liang Fu–he coined the term “fractons” for strange partial quasiparticles. (A previous one, forgotten The role of Claudio Chamon it is now attributed to the original discovery of fracton behavior.)
To see if the Fracton phase is so extraordinary, consider a more typical particle, such as an electron, that moves freely from a material. Some physicists have a strange but common way of understanding this motion as the electron moves, because space is filled with pairs of electron-positrons that come out of existence and out of the moment. Such a pair appears to have the positron (an antiparticle charged against the electron) on top of the original electron, and they destroy it. This leaves the pair’s electron behind, displaced from the original electron. Since there is no way to separate the two electrons, what we perceive is a single moving electron.
Now, think that the pairs of particles and antiparticles cannot be created from scratch, but their squares. In this case, a square can be created to place an antiparticle on top of the original particle, destroying that corner. A second square comes out of nowhere, so one of its sides is destroyed with one side of the first square. This leaves the opposite side of the second square behind, consisting mainly of particles and antiparticles. The resulting motion moves the particle-antiparticle pair in a straight line to the sides. In this world — an example of a fractional phase — the motion of a single particle is limited, but a pair can easily move.
The Haah code takes the phenomenon to the extreme: particles can only move when new particles are called into endless repeating patterns called fractals. Say you have four particles arranged in a square, but when you zoom in on each corner you will find another square of four particles next to each other. Zoom in again in the corner and you will find another square and so on. It takes so much energy to carry out such a vacuum structure that it is impossible to move this type of fracton. This allows very stable qubits (bits of quantum computing) to be stored in the system, as the environment cannot disrupt the delicate state of the qubits.