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Colloquium | Physics Colloquium | Physics Division

Chiral Matter: From Quarks to Quantum Materials

Physics Colloquium

Abstract: Chirality is an ubiquitous concept in modern science, from particle physics to biology. In quantum physics, chirality is linked to the topology of gauge fields due to the quantum chiral anomaly. While the quantum anomaly is usually associated with the short-distance behavior, recently it has been realized that it affects also the macroscopic behavior of fluids with chiral fermions. In particular, the local imbalance between left- and right-handed fermions in the presence of magnetic field induces the nondissipative transport of electric charge (“the Chiral Magnetic Effect”). In heavy-ion collisions, there is an ongoing search for this effect at Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, with a dedicated isobar run completed in June of 2018. Recently, the Chiral Magnetic Effect has been discovered in ZrTe5 and other materials possessing chiral quasi-particles. This observation opens a path toward applications in microelectronic devices and quantum computers.