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Physicists study magnetism with the roles of position and momentum reversed

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Posted November 21, 2014

Normally, the strength of a magnetic field increases as you get closer to a magnet and decreases as you move further away—a concept easily understood when placing magnets near a refrigerator, for instance. But recent research has shown that exotic “momentum-space artificial magnetic fields” can be created where the strength of the magnetic field depends on how fast a particle moves, instead of where the particle is. In other words, the roles of position and momentum are swapped.

momentum space magnetism

(a) and (c) show numerical states in real space. (b) and (d) show examples of the analogue “magnetic states” on a torus in momentum space. Credit: Price, et al. ©2014 American Physical Society

Now in a new paper, physicists have explored these ideas further, especially at the quantum level. They show how current experiments can be modified to study the motion of a quantum particle in a momentum-space magnetic field. They explain that these systems will be able to experimentally realize a “wonderland of new physics,” such as magnetism on a torus, for the first time.

Read more at: Phys.org

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