A crew of researchers recently has found evidence for one very unusual particle that, bizarrely, is its own anti-particle at the same time. Scientists have first made theories about this 80 years ago. But, could this be a reality?
Researchers from the Stanford University in California conducted their findings and published them in the journal Science.
This idea of particle having its own antiparticle brings us back to 1937 when one physicist from Italy named Ettore Majorana) first postulated the theory, and that’s why they are called Majorana particles.
What is an antiparticle?
It’s a particle that actually has the same mass as a regular particle, but an opposite magnetic or electric property. For example, the positron is the electron’s antiparticle. If the electron and the positron encounter each other, they will annihilate each other.
There was a research made where the crew of scientists has stacked thin films of two different quantum materials and brought them together in order to send an electrical current through them in a chilled vacuum chamber.
According to the physics professor Giorgio Gratta, the scientists say that they didn’t exactly see Majorana particles. In fact, what they saw were “essentially excitations in a material that behaves like Majorana particles.”
Gratta added: “It’s very unlikely that they occur out in the universe, although who are we to say?”
“Chiral” fermion is the name of the particular type of Majorana particles that they have found. This particle moves in one direction along a one-dimensional path.
As professor Shoucheng Zhan said: “This discovery concludes one of the most intensive searches in fundamental physics, which spanned exactly 80 years.”