Researchers in Florence and Innsbruck have simulated a physical phenomenon in an atomic quantum gas that can also be observed at the edge of some condensed matter systems: chiral currents.
One of these phenomena can be observed in connection with the quantum Hall effect: When certain materials are subjected to a strong magnetic field, the electrons cannot move in a singular circular direction at the edges anymore but repeatedly bounce against the edge, where they are reflected.
“You could compare it to a river where the fish swim towards the right on one bank and towards the left on the other bank,” explains theoretical physicist Marcello Dalmonte from the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Innsbruck and a member of Peter Zoller’s research group at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
The observations published in Science show that the particles move mostly to the right at one edge and to the left on the other edge.
This simulation of exotic effects opens up new ways for the researchers to study other new physical phenomena, for example, in connection with quantum Hall effects, the study of anyons in atomic systems.
Explore further: Exotic quantum states: A new research approach.
More information: Observation of chiral edge states with neutral fermions in synthetic Hall ribbons.