Since the 1930’s scientists have been searching for an elusive particle which behaves simultaneously as matter and anti matter. Physicists have now found strong evidence of one such possibility inside a superconducting material. The discovery could also represent the so called Majorana particle, an important component in quantum computers.
It is a concept among physicists that every matter has an equal and opposite antimatter with equal mass but opposite charge. Matter meets its anti matter, they annihilate each other. However there are particles which might be their own anti matter partners. This has been predicted by the Italian physicist Ettore Majorana. Now for the first time scientists have claimed that they have imaged one of these Majorana particles, and their findings have been reported in the October 3 Science.
Majorna particle was seen inside a superconductor. A superconductor has o resistance and electrons flow without any hindrance in a superconductor. The team of scientists led by Ali Yazdani of Princeton University placed a long chain of iron atoms which are magnetic over a superconductor which was made of lead. Magnetism disrupts the free flow of the electrons and in superconductors there is a lack of magnetic field. However here the magnetic chain became a special type of superconductor where electrons adjacent to one another coordinated their spins to simultaneously satisfy the requirements of magnetism and superconductivity. Thus each of this electron pair can be deemed as an as an electron and an antielectron, with a negative and a positive charge. However one electron at each end of the chain is left without a pair creating the properties of both electrons and antielectrons- in other words, Majorana particles.
The latest discovery will have far reaching implications for the quest for Majorana particles outside superconducting materials. The discovery will also be useful for constructing quantum computers which uses the laws of quantum mechanics to make calculations many times faster.