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New Form of Electrical Conduction Discovered

A colossal mystery unfolds as researchers uncover a material that conducts electricity in an entirely unknown manner. This “peculiar metal” composed of ytterbium, rhodium, and silicon appears to transport electricity without discrete charge carriers, marking an entirely unprecedented occurrence as reported in the journal “Science.” Typically, electric current flows through conductors in discrete charge packets, carried by electrons or quasiparticles. The shot noise, observed as characteristic temporal fluctuations in current strength during measurements, arises from the granular flow of electricity. Physicists have now encountered a material that defies norms: YbRh2Si2, a “Strange Metal,” displays inexplicable variations in its electrical properties linked to temperature. Measurements revealed that shot noise in this material is significantly subdued compared to standard gold. The electrons within this material are quantumly entangled, resulting in particularly massive quasiparticles.

However, even this material should exhibit shot noise. Researchers speculate about the unconventional manner in which charge is transported in this “silent” metal and whether these peculiarities apply solely to this type of material or to all “Strange Metals.” The challenge remains in formulating an appropriate vocabulary to describe this mode of transport. It remains unclear whether this absence of shot noise is exclusive to this specific material or applicable to all unusual metals, given that vastly distinct structured materials like superconductors or bilayer graphene also fall under the category of “Strange Metals”.

Find the full study here.