Monday, November 24, 2008

High-Energy Physics in a New Guise

I pointed out an article on symmetry breaking in which many of the origin of the principle came from condensed matter theory and experiments. In an article that appeared on the APS's "Physics", it goes the other way in which a basic theory of elementary particle/field theory can be analogously demonstrated in a condensed matter system. The concept of axions can now be demonstrated in a class of topological insulators.

In a paper appearing in Physical Review B, however, Xiao-Liang Qi, Tayor Hughes, and Shou-Cheng Zhang of Stanford University [2] show that a term ΔL_axion, analogous to what was predicted in high-energy physics, is present in the theoretical description of a class of crystalline solids called topological insulators.

Here's another example where condensed matter system actually can be a testbed for many fundamental concepts that may not be as difficult to test when compared to what is required in high energy physics experiments.


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