A global-scale discovery in particle physics was made by two researchers employed by Kazan University.
They are Visiting Professor of the Department of Quantum Electronics and Radiospectroscopy, employee of the Magnetic Superfluidity and Nonlinear Magnetic Resonance Lab Yury Bunkov, and postdoc researcher at the same lab Rasul Gazizullin.
Ettore Majorana hypothesized the particle in 1937, but it was only recently that the two insightful individuals found it in the superfluid He3.
The discovery happened at Institut NEEL in Grenoble, the only institution on the planet possessing the equipment capable of reaching temperatures as low as 0.001 K.
Dr. Bunkov explains the gist of the experiment, “We froze He3 until its thermal capacity stopped falling exponentially and showed another correlation – the one corresponding with Majorana fermions. That is to say that at extremely low temperatures the thermal capacity is determined by Majorana fermions. That’s a great achievement for physical theory”.
The results were published in the Journal of Low Temperature Physics in 2014. Another paper is currently under review by Nature. The research was also presented to the wide community at the Quantum Fluids and Solids symposium in Niagara Falls in August 2015.
In 2015 Bunkov and Gazizullin conducted a new series of experiments that confirmed previous findings. It is hypothesized that Majorana fermion can be a part of dark matter. It can also appear in the process of the double beta decay.
Dr. Bunkov elaborates, «Superfluid He3 is a good model to research the Universe and the space. Many effects can be modelled on He3. The thing is that He3 and the Universe are described by the very closely related equations of the quantum field theory. For example, we already modelled the Big Bang in He3 and followed its development. Those findings appeared in Nature in 1996. Such experiments could hardly be deemed feasible not so long ago. There are many other effects of particle physics and cosmology that can be studied through He3. Physicist Grigory Volovik wrote a book called “The Universe in a Drop of Helium” where he predicted many such effects».
Yury Bunkov is renowned experimental physicist, his H-index is 24 (among the highest of the experts in low temperature physics). In 1993 he and his colleagues received the State Prize of Russia for “a cycle of works on finding and studying magnetic superfluidity”. In 2008 a team with his participation received the Fritz London Memorial Prize for “exploring and explaining coherent spin precession and spin superfluidity in He3”.