Physicists from the Würzburg-Dresden Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat have discovered a new quantum effect called the “spinaron.” They conducted an experiment where they placed cobalt atoms on a copper surface, cooled them to extremely low temperatures, and exposed them to a strong magnetic field. They analyzed the atoms using a scanning tunneling microscope and found unexpected results.

Traditionally, physicists believed that the interaction between cobalt and copper could be explained by the Kondo effect. However, the Würzburg team’s experiment challenged this theory. They discovered that the cobalt atoms have a changing magnetic orientation, causing the surrounding copper electrons to oscillate and bond with the cobalt atoms. This phenomenon, known as the spinaron effect, was previously proposed by theorist Samir Lounis.

The discovery of the spinaron effect calls into question the widely accepted Kondo effect. Understanding this new quantum state could have implications for the development of spintronics, a field that explores the use of magnetic moments in electronic devices. However, the practical application of this discovery is currently limited due to the complex experimental conditions required.

The Würzburg team and Lounis are now reviewing past research on the Kondo effect, suspecting that some studies may have actually been describing the spinaron effect. If this is the case, it could reshape our understanding of quantum physics.

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