Quantum Leap: International Research Consortium Unveils Groundbreaking Discovery of Novel State of Matter

The Elettra Synchrotron. Photo credits IS
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by InTrieste

An international research consortium, featuring CNR Iom among its contributors, has unveiled a groundbreaking discovery in the realm of quantum physics. Utilizing the synchrotron light at Elettra, the team identified a novel state of matter marked by the presence of a quantum phenomenon known as chiral current. These minute currents, spurred by a collective motion of electrons on an atomic scale, herald a new phase of material science.

Published in the esteemed journal Nature, the study significantly advances our understanding of quantum materials. According to a statement from the Area Science Park in Trieste, the revelation of these quantum states holds promise for revolutionizing electronics, potentially replacing traditional electron charges with chiral currents as information carriers.

Furthermore, the implications extend beyond electronics. The discovery could catalyze the development of innovative chiral optoelectronic devices and have profound impacts on fields ranging from quantum technology to biomedicine and renewable energy.

The detection of chiral currents stemmed from an intricate examination of the interplay between light and matter. By employing precisely polarized photons, the researchers were able to observe the emission of electrons from material surfaces with well-defined spin states, thus confirming the existence of this elusive quantum state.

Led by Federico Mazzola of CNR Iom, the study leveraged a unique blend of techniques, including polarized light from Elettra Synchrotron Trieste and experimental facilities at CNR and Nffa. Collaborators from institutions such as Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, the Spin Institute, the Officina dei Materiali Institute of CNR, and the University of Salerno contributed to the investigation.

While the study focused on a material already recognized for its electronic properties and applications in superconducting spintronics, the newfound quantum state holds broader implications, potentially applicable to a wide array of quantum materials.

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