Scientists at the U.S Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University have discovered a new way to generate very low-resistance electric current in a new class of materials. The discovery, which relies on the separation of right- and left-“handed” particles, points to a range of potential applications in energy, quantum computing, and medical imaging, and possibly even a new mechanism for inducing superconductivity—the ability of some materials to carry current with no energy loss.
The material the scientists worked with, zirconium pentatelluride, has a surprising trait: When placed in parallel electric and magnetic fields, it responds with an imbalance in the number of right- and left-handed particles—a chiral imbalance. That imbalance pushes oppositely charged particles in opposite directions to create a powerful electric current.
This “chiral magnetic effect” had long been predicted theoretically, but never observed definitively in a materials science laboratory at the time this work was done.
In fact, when physicists in Brookhaven’s Condensed Matter Physics & Materials Science Department (CMP&MS) first measured the significant drop in electrical resistance, and the accompanying dramatic increase in conductivity, they were quite surprised.
Continue reading the entire article by clicking the name of the source below.