A new system theory that violates Newton’s third law

A flock of birds can also be seen as a symmetry breach: instead of flying in random directions, they are arranged like spins in a magnet. But there is an important difference: the ferromagnetic phase transition is easily explained by statistical mechanics because it is a balanced system.

But birds — as well as cells, bacteria, and cars in traffic — add new energy to the system. “Because they have an internal source of energy, they behave differently,” Reichhardt said. “And because they don’t save energy, as far as the system is concerned, it seems to be everywhere.”

Beyond quantum

Hanai and Littlewood began their research on BEC phase transitions by thinking about common, well-known phase transitions. Consider water: Although liquid water and steam look different, Littlewood says, there is basically no symmetrical difference between them. Mathematically, at the transition point, these two states are indistinguishable. In a balanced system, this point is called the critical point.

Critical phenomena can be seen everywhere-in cosmology, high-energy physics, and even biological systems. But in all these examples, the researchers could not find a good model to illustrate that the condensate formed when the quantum mechanical system is coupled to the environment, undergoes constant damping and pumping.

Hanai and Littlewood suspect that critical and anomalous points must share some important properties, even if they obviously come from different mechanisms. “The tipping point is an interesting mathematical abstraction,” Littlewood said, “where you can’t distinguish the difference between these two stages. The exact same thing happens in these polarized subsystems.”

They also know that under the framework of mathematics, lasers—technically a state of matter—have the same basic equations as polarized exciton BEC.exist a dissertation Researchers published a paper in 2019, linking these points and proposing a new and vital general mechanism through which abnormal points can cause phase transitions in quantum dynamic systems.

“We believe this is the first explanation for these changes,” Hanai said.

Vitelli and Michel Fruchart, also from the University of Chicago, along with Littlewood and Hanai, used the mathematical framework of bifurcation theory and relaxed the usual assumptions about energy patterns, extending their quantum work to all non-reciprocal systems.Photo: Christine Norman/Getty Images

Hanai said that at about the same time, they realized that even though they were studying the quantum state of matter, their equations did not rely on quantum mechanics. Does the phenomenon they are studying apply to a larger, more general phenomenon? “We began to doubt this idea [connecting a phase transition to an exceptional point] It can also be applied to classic systems. “

But to realize this idea, they need help.They approached Vitelli Michel Fruchart, A postdoctoral researcher in Vitelli’s laboratory, researches unusual symmetry in the classical realm. Their work extends to metamaterials with rich nonreciprocal interactions. For example, they may show different reactions to being pressed on one side or the other, or they may show special points.

Vitelli and Fruchart were immediately attracted. Are there some general principles in polaron condensed matter, some basic laws about systems where energy is not conserved?


Now it’s a quartet, and researchers are beginning to look for general principles that support the link between nonreciprocity and phase change. For Vitelli, this means thinking with both hands. He is accustomed to constructing physical mechanical systems to illustrate difficult abstract phenomena. For example, in the past, he used Lego bricks to build lattices. These lattices became topological materials, and the edge movement was different from the inner movement.

“Even if we are talking about theory, you can use toys to prove it,” he said.

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