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April 2015: Optical simulation of charge conservation violation and Majorana dynamics

“Forbidden physics has been seen in an experiment – sort of. CQT researchers and collaborators in Germany, Austria and India simulated with light the behaviour of an impossible particle known as a Majoranon…”
Read more from CQT highlight for non specialists, ” Light mimics forbidden particle “

This work was chosen for a focus article in Οptics & Photonics News (OPN)  “Using light to simulate unphysical particles”. ! It has also appeared in the Science Section, International Business Times, as well as  and sciencedaily


R. Keil, C. Noh, A. Rai, S. Stutzer, S. Nolte, D. G. Angelakis, A. Szameit “Experimental simulation of charge conservation violation and Majorana dynamics”, Optica 2,454 (2015)


Unphysical solutions are ruled out in physical equations, as they lead to behavior that violates fundamental physical laws. One of the celebrated equations that allows unphysical solutions is the relativistic Majorana equation, thought to describe neutrinos and other exotic particles predicted in theories beyond the standard model. The neutrally charged Majorana fermion is the equation’s physical solution, whereas the charged version is, due to charge nonconservation, unphysical and cannot exist. Here, we present an experimental scheme simulating the dynamics of a charged Majorana particle by light propagation in a tailored waveguide chip. Specifically, we simulate the free-particle evolution as well as the unphysical operation of charge conjugation. We do this by exploiting the fact that the wave function is not a directly observable physical quantity and by decomposing the unphysical solution to observable entities. Our results illustrate the potential of investigating theories beyond the standard model in a compact laboratory setting.