Physics

Nailing down the elusive statistics

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Science  23 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6344, pp. 1244-1245
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6344.1244-f

Many exotic materials, such as quantum spin liquids, are characterized by a lack of ordering. Proving the absence of something is tricky, however; a positive experimental signature is preferable. Morampudi et al. find theoretically that the fractional quantum statistics of quasiparticle excitations that appear in such phases might be detectable by neutron scattering. They predict that near the threshold for the creation of such excitations, the neutron scattering cross section should exhibit a power law energy dependence, with the exponent directly reflecting the nature of the quantum statistics. The prediction can be tested in gapped quantum spin liquids with electrically neutral excitations, as well as in cold atoms systems that simulate such materials.

Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 227201 (2017).

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