They create a quantum particle that looks like a ‘lightning ball’

Quantum mechanics is a complicated world that constantly challenges our intuition, and even then it allows us to simulate difficult physical situations to explore in other ways. A study published in the journal Science Advances explains that these quantum simulations could help to understand what is behind the ball rays, phenomena related to electrical storms and of which we still know very little. The connection was born from a new quantum particle predicted more than 40 years ago, but which has now been created for the first time by scientists from Amherst College (USA) and the University of Aalto (Finland). His work could also provide new ideas for the manipulation and stabilization of plasma balls in nuclear reactors.

A three-dimensional skyrmion has been created for the first time. It is a new pseudoparticle, a set of atoms that behave like a fundamental particle, but without becoming one, “explains Mikko Möttönen, leader of the theoretical group at the University of Aalto. The peculiarities of this new pseudoparticle lie in its structure. “The magnetic moments of the atoms, their spins, are intertwined forming a knot that can be moved or tightened, but not undo, like a knot in a rope with ends tied,” adds Möttönen.

Mikko Möttönen also highlights the simplicity of the method and its possible future applications. “If we could apply this technique to create hot plasma balls, it would be a breakthrough for nuclear fusion reactors.” The spherical shape of the plasma could help its stabilization without the need to use giant magnets, “although this needs more research,” explains the scientist.

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