Topophysics!

Can quantum stuff be bound by interaction through other dimensions?

According to The Physics arXiv Blog in Technology Review, yes.

Consider these rings, known as Borromean Rings. No two of them are connected but all three of them are.  If you cut any ring, you release the other two.

Borromean Rings, a screenshot from arXiv

You can’t do this trick in two dimensions. Circles on a plane cannot be bound this way. A flatlander would be baffled. He would have a hard time envisioning the third dimension needed to connect the rings three at a time, but not two.

Now: what if quantum particles could likewise be bound in another spatial dimension, “above / outside / beyond” our familiar three?

Do you have a hard time envisioning this, you poor three-lander?

Back in 1970 Vitaly Efimov, then a young Soviet physicist, envisioned it: that quantum objects that could not form pairs, could nevertheless form triplets in a quantum space of more than three dimensions.

The first such triplet was found in 2006, in ultracold cesium atoms, by physicists in Austria.

Which brings us to …

Today, Nils Baas at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology makes another startling prediction. He says that the strange, unworldly bonds that allow cesium atoms to stick together in triplets should allow much more complex objects to form too. In fact, he says we’re on the verge of discovering a brand new form of matter governed by an entirely new branch of physics. …

a kind of parallel physics, in which the laws governing behaviour in this parallel universe exert an inescapable, ghostly grip on our own universe.

Topologist Predicts New Form of Matter  – Technology Review

As the article points out, this may give us a new way of explaining and perhaps exploiting quantum entanglement!

Wild and wonderful stuff!

Quick, somebody ask Michelle Bachmann what she thinks about this.

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