Unusual bearing

Published: Wednesday 31 December 1997

Electric charges are known to come in integral multiples of the smallest charge called electron. But in certain cases, these charges are also found in fractional units. Scientists in Israel and France have separately confirmed the quantum Hall effect. According to the law, when electrons are restricted to flow in an ultra-thin layer of a solid at very low temperatures and high magnetic fields, they exhibit this strange behaviour. It is the first time when the effect has been experimentally verified ( Physical Review Letters , Vol 79, September 29, 1997).

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