Is indestructible an electron? Can you cut it in half? With the help of several supercomputers, an international team of physicists has simulated the division of an electron through a "virtual glass" under extremely low temperatures in the computer model, it becomes a quantum fluid. Placing a virtual particle with the basic charge of an electron in the quantum simulated fluid, the particle is fractured into two parts, each of which contained half the negative charge of the original electron.
The simulations were carried out by physicist Matthew Hastings, Duke University, US, and colleagues, Sergei Isakov of the University of Zurich in Switzerland, and Roger Melko of the University of Waterloo in Canada . The findings, published in the journal Science, are another example of how the simulation experiments on ultracold atoms and other condensed materials can provide clues about the behavior of fundamental particles.
Many different types of materials, from superconductors to superfluids, can be formed when electrons are condensed and cooled to near absolute zero. This is the approximate temperature at which the particles stop moving and the individual particles, such as electrons, can overcome their repulsion and cooperate.
The behavior of particles cooperating, eventually, becomes indistinguishable from the actions of an individual particle and, according to Hastings, this phenomenon is very similar to what happens with sound. A sound consists of waves, and each sound wave appears indivisible and act as elementary particle, however, a sound wave is actually the collective motion of many atoms.
Under the condition ultracold, electrons acquire the same type of appearance. Their collective movement is like the motion of a single particle; but, unlike sound waves, electrons and other particles -called cooperating collective excitations or cuasipartículas- can do extraordinary things.
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