Chiral-Bose Liquid State: Researchers Discover New State Of Matter

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Apart from the solid, liquid, and gas states of matter, everyone is aware of, a recent discovery by the US and Chinese physicists said there was also an entirely new state of matter. It is called a Chiral Bose-liquid, and it was stated it exists in extreme conditions.

“Like a game of musical chairs”

Tigran Sedrakyan from the University of Massachusetts Amherst tried to paint a picture to better explain the research published in Nature. Sedrakyan said, “It’s like a game of musical chairs designed to frustrate the electrons.”

The Chiral Bose-liquid was discovered through a frustrated quantum system. The system prevents constraints from interacting, causing the frustration. The machine Sedrakyan and his colleagues made has two fields, the top one electron-rich and the bottom one filled with “holes” to allow electrons to move freely.

Sedrakyan told Science Alert, “Instead of each electron having one chair to go to, they must now scramble and have many possibilities in where they sit.”

What happens next

Physicist Lingjie Du from Nanjing University in China also discussed the groundbreaking discovery, explaining how scientists used a strong magnetic field to calculate how the electrons moved, creating the Chiral-Bose liquid state. Du shared, “On the edge of the semiconductor bilayer, electrons and holes move with the same velocities.”

The scientist added, “This leads to helical-like transport, which can be further modulated by external magnetic fields as the electron and hole channels are gradually separated under higher fields.”

Magneto-transport experiments successfully revealed the first piece of evidence of the Chiral Bose-liquid. The researchers also called it the “excitonic topological order” in the paper.

This state of matter exists in extreme conditions, such as near absolute zero temperature and at extremely small scales with “predictable patterns of frozen electrons and charge-neutral particles with a fixed spin direction.”

Expanding our understanding of quantum matter

The Chiral Bose-liquid state is challenging to observe, hence, it stayed hidden for this long. But, the discovery made some interesting points, like learning that electrons will freeze into a predictable pattern and a fixed spin direction at absolute zero and can’t be interfered with by other particles or magnetic fields.

Sedrakyan reminded, “You find quantum states of matter way out on these fringes, and they are much wilder than the three classical states we encounter in our everyday lives.” While all of this does not mean much to an average person’s everyday life, each discovery is taking us closer to understanding the world we all live in.

Exciting collaboration

In the paper, the scientists explained the importance of their discovery, “Our work opens up a new direction for research on topological and correlated bosonic systems in solid states beyond the framework of symmetry-protected topological phases, including but not limited to the bosonic fractional quantum Hall effect.”

The research was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Program for Innovative Talents and Entrepreneurs, the Xiaomi Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Apart from Du and Sedrakyan, some of the researchers involved were theoretical physicists Rui Wang and Baigeng Wang (both from Nanjing University) and experimental physicist Rui-Rui Du from Peking University.