Meet the particle that could be crucial to future technology

Meet the particle that could be crucial to technology of the future

Physicists from around the world are celebrating the discovery of a particle with no mass that could allow us to create faster, more efficient electronics. It's called the Weyl fermion.

Originally proposed by mathematician Hermann Weyl in 1929, these fermions are thought to be the building blocks of other subatomic particles.

Right now, electricity is carried by streams of electrons - but Weyl fermions could provide a much more stable and efficient way of doing the same thing.

'They have their own GPS'

One interesting quirk of their physics is that they can behave as a composite of matter and antimatter inside a crystal - which is how they were found, and the only place they can exist. But another is that they can be used to create massless electrons that move very quickly and aren't lost as heat energy when they collide with something like regular electrons do.

"It's like they have their own GPS and steer themselves without scattering," said M. Zahid Hasan, who led the research team. "These are very fast electrons that behave like unidirectional light beams and can be used for new types of quantum computing."

He added: "The physics of the Weyl fermion are so strange, there could be many things that arise from this particle that we're just not capable of imagining now."

The full details of the discovery were published in the journal Science.

Duncan Geere
Duncan Geere is TechRadar's science writer. Every day he finds the most interesting science news and explains why you should care. You can read more of his stories here, and you can find him on Twitter under the handle @duncangeere.