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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wiedemann-Franz Law: Physicists break 150-year-old empirical laws of physics

Wiedemann-Franz Law: Physicists break 150-year-old empirical laws of physics

"[...] Electrons have a spin and a charge. When they move through a metal they cause an electrical current because of the moving charge. In addition, the moving electrons also carry heat through the metal but now it is via both the charge and the spin. [...] The experimental group, led by Professor Nigel Hussey of the Correlated Electron Systems Group at the University of Bristol, tested this prediction on a purple bronze material comprising atomic chains along which the electrons prefer to travel.
Remarkably, the researchers found that the material conducted heat 100,000 times better than would have been expected if it had obeyed the Wiedemann-Franz law like other metals. Not only does this remarkable capability of this compound to conduct heat have potential from a technological perspective, such unprecedented violation of the Wiedemann-Franz law provides striking evidence for this unusual separation of the spin and charge of an electron in the one-dimensional world. [...]"

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