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You are here News Science Massless particle discovered 85 years after it was theorized

Massless particle discovered 85 years after it was theorized

Massless particle discoveeredResearchers have discovered a massless particle, which was first theorized 85 years ago and thought to be a possible building block for other subatomic particles.  The discovery of the Weyl fermion, conceived of by mathematician and physicist Hermann Weyl in 1929, could be a boon for electronics, researchers said. It could allow electricity to flow more freely and efficiently providing greater power, most notably for computers.

"The physics of the Weyl fermion are so strange, there could be many things that arise from this particle that we're just not capable of imagining now," M. Zahid Hasan, a professor of physics at Princeton University, said in a press release.

Based on Weyl's work, and their own intuition, the researchers theorized the fermions could exist inside a synthetic tantalum arsenide crystal they designed. The crystals were then inserted into a scanning tunneling spectromicroscope, which is cooled to near absolute zero and suspended from the ceiling to prevent even atom-sized vibrations. Based on the spectromicroscope, the crystals matched all of Weyl's theoretical specifications for the presence of the particle.

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