Weyl Fermions Found, a Quasiparticle That Acts Like a Massless Electron
After an 85-year hunt, scientists have detected an exotic particle, the “Weyl fermion,” which they suggest could lead to faster and more efficient electronics and to new types of quantum computing.
Electrons, protons, and neutrons belong to a class of particles known as fermions. Unlike the other major class of particles, the bosons, which include photons, fermions can collide with each other—no two fermions can share the same state at the same position at the same time.
Whereas electrons and all the other known fermions have mass, in 1929, mathematician and physicist Hermann Weyl theorized that massless fermions that carry electric charge could exist, so-called Weyl fermions. “Weyl fermions are basic building blocks; you can combine two Weyl fermions to make an electron,” says condensed matter physicist Zahid Hasan at Princeton University.