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A Tight Squeeze For Electrons--Quantum Effects Observed in 'one-Dimensional' Wires

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A tight squeeze for electrons.

Researchers have observed quantum effects in electrons by squeezing them into one-dimensional quantum wires and observing the interactions between them. The results could be used to aid in the development of quantum technologies, including quantum computing.

Credit: University of Cambridge

Researchers from the U.K.'s University of Cambridge observed quantum effects in electrons by squeezing them into one-dimensional "quantum wires" and monitoring the interactions. They found they were able to control electrons by packing them so tightly they start to exhibit quantum effects.

Squeezing electrons into a one-dimensional quantum wire amplifies their quantum nature to the point they can be observed, by measuring at what energy and wavelength electrons can be injected into the wire. Electrons in a quantum wire "repel each other and cannot get past, so if one electron enters or leaves, it excites a compressive wave like the people in the train," says University of Cambridge professor Maria Moreno.

The researchers tested predictions of what should happen at high energies, in which traditional theories break down, namely that there would be a hierarchy of modes corresponding to the variety of ways in which the interactions can affect the quantum mechanical particles, and the weaker modes should be strongest in short wires. By varying the magnetic field and voltage, they could map the tunneling from the wires to an adjacent sheet of electrons.

The researchers note this breakthrough revealed evidence for the extra curves predicted, where it can be seen as an inverted replica of the spin curve.

From University of Cambridge
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