Half moons and pinch points: Same physics, different energy

ScienceDaily | 11/12/2018 | Staff
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Now, researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) have revealed that pinch points and half moons are one and the same -- simply signatures of the same physics at different energy levels. Their unified theory, published October 12, 2018, as a Physical Review B Rapid Communication, is the first to explain the underlying physics driving the often paired phenomena.

"The theory itself is kind of simple," said Han Yan, a graduate student in the Theory of Quantum Matter Unit at OIST and first author of the study. "From the same theory that gives you the pinch point at lower energy, you can calculate what happens at higher energy -- and you get a pair of half moons."

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The pattern of the scattering tells physicists how atoms are behaving inside a material. For instance, if neutrons scatter helter-skelter, physicists infer that the atoms within a material are aligned randomly. If neutrons scatter in a hallmark bow-tie, they infer that the atoms are twirling in tandem, as...
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