Breaking the existing laws of physics, two teams of scientists from the United States and Europe have found the existence of a fourth spatial dimension (4D). Conventional laws in physics suggest three physical dimensions and one extra dimension, that of time as we move through the Universe. The researchers have also developed the picture of the effects this fourth dimension might have.
Even though the finding is mind-blowing, the experiments involved are partly theoretical and very complex.
"Physically, we don't have a 4D spatial system, but we can access 4D quantum Hall physics using this lower-dimensional system because the higher-dimensional system is coded in the complexity of the structure," said Mikael Rechtsman of the Penn State University and a researcher in the US-based team.
The new concept of a 4D spatial system will be more simple if it is explained in layman's term. Just like a 3D object casts a 2D shadow, 4D objects will cast 3D shadows even if we cannot see the 4D object itself. Experts believe that this new finding is capable to change some fundamental law of quantum physics.
"Maybe we can come up with new physics in the higher dimension and then design devices that take advantage the higher-dimensional physics in lower dimensions," added Mikael.
4D Quantum Hall effect
Both these studies were based on 4D Quantum Hall effect, an advanced calculation which won the Nobel Prize in 2016. According to experts, the generation of a Quantum Hall effect is the indication of fourth dimension's existence.
The European team cooled down the atoms very close to absolute zero, placed in a 2D lattice through the use of lasers. Using extra lasers, the team successfully excited the trapped atoms and made them move. Variations in the movement of atom literally matched with the 4D quantum Hall effect, which indicated that fourth spatial dimension can be accessed.
The US team too used lasers, and they tried to control light as it flowed through a block of glass. When the light stimulated the electrically charged particle, a 4D quantum effect was clearly observed by the team.
Even though we cannot physically access the 4D world, being aware of its existence will give us a better understanding of our Universe, say scientists.