Theoretical Nanophysics

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50 years of the Aharonov-Bohm effect

A research workshop of the Israel Science Foundation

11.10.2009  -  14.10.2009

In 1959, Yakir Aharonov and the late David Bohm discovered a quantum effect which revolutionized our understanding of the role of potentials in physics. For the first time, it was shown that a particle moving in a field-free region could be affected by a field in a disjoint region. Such an effect is alien to classical physics; indeed, it is a defining property of the quantum world.

Numerous experiments have verified the effect, and recent novel techniques allow precise measurements of the shifts in electron interference patterns that demonstrate the phase (the AB phase) picked up by a charged particle moving around a solenoid.

The AB phase is ubiquitous in modern physics -- including cosmology, particle physics, non-abelian gauge theories, condensed matter chemical and molecular physics, and laser dynamics. Generalizations of the AB phase to non-abelian gauge theories, such as the Wilson and t'Hooft loops, are important tools for studying the issues of confinement and spontaneous symmetry breaking. The topological quantum phase explains charge quantization, the quantum Hall effect, the Josephson junction and many effects in the new field of mesoscopic physics where tiny electronic circuits exhibit quantum behavior. The AB phase plays a crucial role in electron microscope holography.

The AB effect appears in textbooks and encyclopedias but it is still a topic of current research in numerous fields of physics. The major part of the activity related to the AB effect today is in the field of mesoscopic physics. So this will be one of the main themes of the conference. But we will cover, at least in part, the other aspects as well, especially those that have had significant progress recently such as experiments on the scalar Aharonov-Bohm effect.

The scope of the conference includes, but is not limited to:

  • Aharonov-Bohm Effect in:
    • Gauge Theories
    • Scalar form
    • Mesoscopic Systems
    • Quantum Hall Effect
    • Quantum Dots
    • Carbon Nanotubes
    • High-TC Superconductivity
  • Aharonov-Casher Effect
  • Quantum Geometrical Phases
  • Nonlocal Aspects of the Aharonov-Bohm effect

Tel Aviv, Israel