Researchers from Princeton University are now predicting the existence of a new type of particle in the "material universe" called the type-II Weyl fermion, which they claim exists in metallic materials, according to a press release.
In their study, they explain how materials that contain these particles will act as insulators when exposed to a magnetic field, giving them the potential to be used as low-energy devices and efficient transistors.
The researchers believe that the new particle exists in material called tungsten ditelluride (WTe2), which they refer to as a "material universe" due to the fact that it contains particles that exist under standard conditions as well as some that they believe only exist in these specialized crystal types. Even more interesting, these crystals can be created in the laboratory, so scientists can create WTe2 and other materials and look for the type-II Weyl fermion to confirm the current predictions.
"One's imagination can go further and wonder whether particles that are unknown to relativistic quantum field theory can arise in condensed matter," said Andrei Bernevig, who led the research.
Materials that contain the newly discovered molecule have mixed behavior, sometimes exhibiting the characteristics of normal metals while at other times acting much like the Weyl semimetals, leaving open plenty of opportunity for technological applications.
"Even more intriguing is the perspective of finding more 'elementary' particles in other condensed matter systems," the researchers say. "What kind of other particles can be hidden in the infinite variety of material universes? The large variety of emergent fermions in these materials has only begun to be unraveled."