Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Physics: the quantum droplets - TIME ONLINE

A newly discovered “quasiparticles” shows how physics has become the spiritual science

The “Dropleton” is an object that has the properties of a liquid droplet and at the same time obeys the typical laws of the quantum world | © Brad Baxley

anything’s different in the quantum world. At the lowest level of physical scale, where dissolve seemingly entrenched objects into atoms and subatomic particles, crumble many ideas cherished. The supposedly solid “building blocks of matter” turn out to be shadowy structure, half wave, half particles which may be present in multiple places at once. Their properties can not be more clearly describe, but only capture probabilities. The atoms themselves are mostly empty space. Even the so-called reality is by no means clear, but shows – depending on the type of observation – sometimes this and sometimes that face. In short: the very basis of our material world image is anything but stable


Given such shaky conditions it is not surprising that physicists already cheer when they have just discovered a new “quasi-particles” (quasi, according to Duden, “as it were, in a sense, as good as”). This week, such a pseudo nature is celebrated on the cover of the magazine Nature : From now onwards, the “Dropleton” the physical vocabulary, an object that represents the properties of a liquid droplet (English: droplet ) and at the same time obeys the typical laws of the quantum world (and therefore as a real electron, neutron or muon gets the suffix-on). For the first time physicists from Marburg and Boulder have described in the U.S. state of Colorado this Dropleton.


Like most residents of the bizarre particle zoo is the “quantum droplets” an extremely volatile structure. Its typical lifetime is 25 billionths of a second, its size corresponds to about 2.000 times of a single hydrogen atom. However, the Dropleton is also no real particles, but only a temporary merger of five negatively charged electrons and five positive “electron holes” – which energetically similar but behaves like a “real” elementary


That sounds as bizarre as it is in truth also. For a correct explanation would require the Dropleton a longer excursion into the semiconductor physics, because the quantum droplets arises only when the semiconductor material gallium arsenide is bombarded with high-energy, pulsed laser light.

This item is from the latest issue of TIME, which you can purchase at the kiosk or online.

This item is from the latest issue of TIME, which you can purchase at the kiosk or online.


may help the understanding a comparison from the world of financial fraud. Because there is nothing unusual if a few negatively charged Fieslinge willing zeros around himself, to form a seemingly stable union. In bright pulsating light of the public, it may look as if it were a legitimate unit, even if actually behind it only a quasi-like shell company with no real substance. Also, such structures a certain fluidity and intangibility is often its own. Nevertheless, they can briefly develop substantial energy.

Important difference: The Dropleton has – unlike a letter box – no foreseeable practical use. “No one will build any quantum droplet whatnot,” says the physicist Steven Cundiff clear with gratifying clarity. The value of the discovery is currently alone in a better understanding of optoelectronic processes.

the Dropleton is a strong evidence for the hypothesis that the particle is the true spiritual science of our time: they treated volatile things that do not actually exist, are free of any practical use, and only enrich our intellectual imagination. How beautiful!

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