Plasma Particle Physics Art Concept

Physics Mystery Solved: Findings Could “Revolutionize” Our Understanding of Distance

The researchers discovered that a new theoretical framework to unify Hermitian and non-Hermitian physics is established by the duality between non-Hermiticity and curved spaces.

A physics puzzle is resolved through a new duality.

According to traditional thinking, distorting a flat space by bending it or stretching it is necessary to create a curved space. A group of scientists at Purdue University has developed a new technique for making curved spaces that also provides the answer to a physics mystery. The team has developed a method using non-Hermiticity, which occurs in all systems coupled to environments, to build a hyperbolic surface and a number of other prototypical curved spaces without causing any physical distortions of physical systems.

“Our work may revolutionize the general public’s understanding of curvatures and distance,” says Qi Zhou, Professor of Physics and Astronomy.

“It has also answered long-standing questions in non-Hermitian quantum mechanics by bridging non-Hermitian physics and curved spaces. These two subjects were assumed to be completely disconnected. The extraordinary behaviors of non-Hermitian systems, which have puzzled physicists for decades, become no longer mysterious if we recognize that the space has been curved. In other words, non-Hermiticity and curved spaces are dual to each other, being the two sides of the same coin.”

Poincare Half Plane

A Poincaré half-plane can be viewed in the background which demonstrates a curved surface. The white geodesics of the curved surface are shown as an analog of straight lines on a flat space. White balls moving in the right direction demonstrate the geometric origin of an extraordinary skin effect in non-Hermitian physics. Credit: Chenwei Lv and Ren Zhang.

The team’s results were published in the journal 
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