In a recently conducted experiment, researchers at Princeton University who set out to settle the debate on whether the Hall Effect exists for frustrated magnets have observed the effect in a non-magnetic material, according to a report published on Science Codex.
The experiment and its subsequent discovery, which finds pertinence in next-generation quantum computers, came about after a chance conversation in a hallway took place between Princeton’s Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics, N. Phuan Ong, and Princeton’s Russell Wellman Moore Professor of Chemistry, Robert Cava.
In order to observe the effect in the frustrated material which is part of a class of materials referred to as “quantum spin ice,” the researchers, with the theory that neutral particles in frustrated magnets might bend to Edwin Hall’s rule, conducted their experiments at temperatures of 0.5 degrees Kelvin.
Max Hirschberger, a graduate student in physics who set up the necessary experiments, was quoted by Science Codex in a report as having said that the “main challenge was how to measure the Hall Effect at an extremely low temperature where the quantum nature of these materials comes out”.
In order to grow the crystals, chemistry graduate student Jason Krizan synthesized the material from terbium oxide and titanium oxide in a furnace before forming the pyrochlore powder in a cylinder deemed suitable for feeding the crystal growth. The powder was then suspended in a chamber filled with pure oxygen where it was blasted with focused light from four 1000-Watt halogen bulbs which were used to heat a small region to 1800 degrees Celsius. The end result were thin, flat transparent or orange slabs roughly the size of a sesame seed.
Graduate student Hirschberger then attached tiny gold electrodes to the slab using microheaters to drive a heat current through the crystal while applying a magnetic field in the direction perpendicular to the heat current and to his surprise, he observed the Hall Effect in the non-magnetic material as he witnessed the heat current deflect to one side of the crystal. But Max wasn’t the only one surprised by the results, as Ong was quoted as having said that they were all “very surprised” by the quantum behavior of the tested material.
All of us were very surprised because we work and play in the classical, non-quantum world […] Quantum behavior can seem very strange, and this is one example where something that shouldn’t happen is really there. It really exists.
In an unrelated experiment conducted by physicists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Belgrade, researchers managed to quantum entangle a record 3,000 atoms with a single particle of light and just last month were reported here on Immortal News that researchers at Google had solved the paradox behind the stabilization of quantum bits.
What are your thoughts on this recent discovery by researchers at Princeton as it pertains to the future of quantum computing?