Slovenian researchers in major materials breakthrough

Jožef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana. Photo: Daniel Novaković/STA

Conducting experiments designed to create new kinds of quantum materials under non-equilibrium conditions, the researchers used short laser pulses to create an unusually thick amorphous electron matter in which electrons become jammed because of strong interaction.

The researchers say the discovery, which falls in the domain of quantum physics, is fundamentally important in that it opens a new area of research that represents a huge challenge for the present state-of-the-art in quantum physics.

The jamming of electrons may occur whenever fundamental particles undergo fast compression at high density, for example in nuclei or in neutron stars. It also has potential practical utility since it can be controlled.

The research team of eight physics under the leadership of Dragan Mihailović discovered the phenomenon in 2016 but then needed three years to describe it and experimentally confirm it.

The new phenomenon has been dubbed "electron jamming" and is described in detail in the paper "Quantum jamming transition to a correlated electron glass in 1T-TaS 2". The researchers screened new phenomenon with special microscope – it took the scientist six years to develop it and it’s a product of company Omicron, Nanocenter and Jožef Stefan Institute.

The research is entirely a product of Slovenian knowledge.

Source: STA