Newly discovered phenomenon accelerates electrons as they enter a viscous state
Date: Thursday, March 09, 2017 @ 22:55:42 MST
A new finding by physicists at MIT and in Israel shows that under certain specialized conditions, electrons can speed through a narrow opening in a piece of metal more easily than traditional theory says is possible.
This "superballistic" flow resembles the behavior of gases flowing through a constricted opening, however it takes place in a quantum-mechanical electron fluid, says MIT physics professor Leonid Levitov, who is the senior author of a paper describing the finding that appears this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In these constricted passageways, whether for gases passing through a tube or electrons moving through a section of metal that narrows to a point, it turns out that the more, the merrier: Big bunches of gas molecules, or big bunches of electrons, move faster than smaller numbers passing through the same bottleneck.
The behavior seems paradoxical. It's as though a mob of people trying to squeeze through a doorway all at once find that they can get through faster than one person going through alone and unobstructed. But scientists have known for nearly a century that this is exactly what happens with gases passing through a tiny opening, and the behavior can be explained through simple, basic physics, Levitov says.
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-03-newly-phenomenon-electrons-viscous-state.html#jCp