Dmitry Karlovets, а TSU physicist, mathematically proved that twisted particles retain an unusual quantum state and exhibit wave properties when reaching high speeds, while ordinary particles do not exhibit wave properties. These calculations, in an experiment at a modern collider, could lead to a new trend at the intersection of particle physics, accelerator physics, and quantum optics. An article about the study was published in the New Journal of Physics.
Electrons, neutrons, photons, and other elementary particles can, under some conditions, exhibit the properties of waves, and under others, can exhibit the properties of particles. This phenomenon is called wave-particle duality. Under normal conditions, an electron exhibits wave properties only at low energies. So as a particle it can be considered only at high energies. However, relatively recently, physicists have learned to twist electrons and neutrons, from which their characteristics change dramatically.
In the state of a wave, when an electron moves, its charge is uniformly smeared over a certain area, which is called the wavefront. Twisted elementary particles are those in which the wavefront is similar to the screw of a meat grinder - that is, it rotates around the axis of the direction of their movement. Until now, scientists have been able to create such unusual quantum states of particles only with electron microscopes at moderate energies. Nevertheless, even this made it possible to significantly improve the quality of the analysis of the magnetic properties of nanomaterials and opened up new possibilities for atomic spectroscopy and electron microscopy with a resolution of tenths of nanometers.
Dmitry Karlovets, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, senior researcher at the TSU Laboratory of Theoretical and Mathematical Physics, theoretically proved the fundamental possibility of creating twisted particles at high energies using accelerators. He described the processes occurring with them using computer modeling and methods of mathematical physics.
If these ideas are realized in an experiment, it will help to create beams of twisted particles with enormous energy: hundreds and even thousands of times more than now, and not only light electrons, but also heavy protons, ions, and so on. This could give physicists new tools for analyzing the structure of compound particles - hadrons, atoms, and ions. In particular, twisted electrons with high energies would help to study the spin of a proton - one of the modern mysteries of high-energy physics, since the large orbital moment of such an electron will enhance the interaction with the spin of the proton and the angular moment of its constituent particles.
Beams of particles in unusual quantum states can provide new tools for analyzing the properties and structure of matter and the properties of the particles themselves. Until now, experimenters have created classical beams of particles of various shapes, where each particle flew with its energy and in a certain direction. Quantum beams consist of particles, where each particle seems to fly in different directions at the same time. This property makes it possible to create new sources of pairs of so-called entangled particles, which is important both for the development of quantum optical communication technologies and quantum computers.