Although they are different particles, water molecules flow as a fluid, producing streams, waves, whirlpools, and other ancient fluids.
Not so with electricity. Although electrical energy is also the composition of the different particles — in this case, the electrons — the particles are so small that any interactions between them absorb more prominent influences as electrons outperform ordinary metals. However, in some cases and under certain conditions, such effects disappear, and electrons may interact directly with one another. In these cases, electrons can gel-like liquid.
Now, physicists at MIT and the Weizmann Institute of Science have observed electrons flowing in vortices, or whirlpools — a sign of the fluid that scientists predict electron cells should show, but that has not yet been revealed.
“Electron vortices are expected in theory, but there is no direct evidence, and vision is a belief,” said Leonid Levitov, a professor of physics at MIT. “Now we have seen it, and it is a clear sign of being in this new empire, where electrons behave like liquids, not as individual particles.”
The findings, reported in the journal Nature, may inform the formation of highly efficient electrical appliances.
“We know that when electrons move in a liquid environment, the [energy] dissipation is reduced, and that is interesting in trying to design low-energy electronics,” Levitov said. “This new look is another step in there.”
Levitov is one of the new paper’s authors, along with Eli Zeldov and others at the Weizmann Institute for Science in Israel and the University of Colorado in Denver.
When electricity flows between most common metals and semiconductors, the timing and trajectories of electrons are currently influenced by material impurities and vibrations between the atoms of the material. These processes control the behavior of electrons in ordinary objects.
But theorists have predicted that quantum effects should take over when there are no standard archeological procedures. The electrons must take each other’s precise quantum action and move in unison, like a visible, electron-like liquid electron. These liquid-like behaviors should come from the purest and most zero temperatures.