Nothing lasts forever. Humans, planets, stars, galaxies, maybe even the Universe itself, everything has an expiration date. But things in the quantum realm don’t always follow the rules. Now, scientists have found that quasiparticles in quantum systems could be effectively immortal.
That doesn’t mean they don’t decay, which is reassuring. But once these quasiparticles have decayed, they are able to reorganise themselves back into existence, possibly ad infinitum.
This seemingly flies right in the face of the second law of thermodynamics, which asserts that entropy in an isolated system can only move in an increasing direction: things can only break down, not build back up again.
Of course, quantum physics can get weird with the rules; but even quantum scientists didn’t know quasiparticles were weird in this particular manner.
“Until now, the assumption was that quasiparticles in interacting quantum systems decay after a certain time,” said physicist Frank Pollman of the Technical University of Munich.
“We now know that the opposite is the case: strong interactions can even stop decay entirely.”
Quasiparticles aren’t particles the way we typically think of them, like electrons and quarks. Rather, they’re the disturbances or excitations in a solid caused by electrical or magnetic forces that, collectively, behave like particles.[…]