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Faux particles commit physics faux pas

Quasiparticle known as type-II Weyl fermion violates Lorentz symmetry

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3:00am, June 12, 2017
particles

WEYL STYLE   In solids, groups of particles can act in concert, behaving like a single, fundamental type of particle, known as a fermion. One such type of quasiparticle, called a type-II Weyl fermion, breaks a fundamental rule of physics called Lorentz symmetry. 

A weird new particle imitator flouts the established rules of particle physics. The discovery could help scientists simulate how particles behaved just after the Big Bang or lead to the development of new devices with unusual electromagnetic properties.

The curious new phenomenon involves a particle-like entity called a quasiparticle, formed from a jostling mosh pit of electrons that collectively act like a single particle in a solid. Found in a compound of lanthanum, aluminum and germanium, the new quasiparticle is a bit of a renegade, physicist M. Zahid Hasan of Princeton University and colleagues report June 2 in Science Advances. Known as a type-II Weyl fermion, the quasiparticle breaks a rule called Lorentz symmetry, which states that the laws of physics are the same no matter the observer’s perspective, whether moving or stationary.

Lorentz symmetry is the foundation of Einstein&rsquo

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