WT team publishes research that could lead to a breakthrough in understanding fundamental physics – The PRAIRIE
Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124, [email protected]
CANYON, Texas — The research of a West Texas A&M University professor and two students who could help with the search for theoretical particles has been published in a prestigious journal.
Dr. Keshav Shrestha, assistant professor of physics, and research students Duncan Miertschin, graduate student in physics from Amarillo, and Thinh (John) Nguyen, graduate student in chemistry from Da Nang, Vietnam, published research on superconducting materials January 10 in Physical Review B, the largest physics journal in the world.
Their research examines topological compounds, materials that conduct electricity faster than anything currently in use.
The research team recent experiments at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida, and a related study has been publishedin June in Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter.
The latest research examines a kagome network made up of the elements cesium, vanadium, and antimony, which Nguyen believes may have broader implications. Such lattice patterns are found in many natural minerals.
“It is a promising material in the search for Majorana fermions, fundamental particles like electrons that were theorized by Ettore Majorana in 1937 but have yet to be realized,” Shrestha said. “Not only can superconducting qualities have a major effect on daily life, but if this network helps uncover these fermions, this research could also have a profound impact on understanding fundamental physics.”
The surface of topological insulators conducts electricity much better than any material currently in use, Miertschin said.
“They can be hundreds of times more effective than anything we currently have. They are more durable, easier to manufacture and more resistant to impurities in their creation,” he said. “Society revolves around computers, whether they are smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktops. Advancements like this can make these devices faster and more efficient.
“Ultimately, this technology could be used in the creation of quantum computers, which are thousands, if not millions, of times faster than our fastest computers,” Miertschin said.
In addition to working with the Florida lab, the research team also partnered with Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois.
These research activities are a means by which WT strengthens its position as a regional research university, a key priority of the university’s long-term plan, WT 125: From begging to the world.
This plan is fueled by the historic amount of $125 million one west huge fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which launched publicly on September 23 — has raised more than $85 million.
About West Texas A&M University
WT is located in Canyon, Texas on a 342-acre residential campus. Founded in 1910, the university has been part of the Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, an institution serving Hispanics since 2016, has approximately 10,000 enrollment and offers 59 undergraduate, 39 master’s, and two doctoral programs. The university is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and one of the finest art collections in the Southwest. The Buffaloes are members of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offer 14 men’s and women’s athletic programs.