In physics, quasiparticles and collective excitations (which are closely related) are emergent phenomena that occur when a microscopically complicated system such as a solid behaves as if it contained different weakly interacting particles in free space. For example, as an electron travels through a semiconductor, its motion is disturbed in a complex way by its interactions with all of the other electrons and nuclei; however it approximately behaves like an electron with a different mass traveling unperturbed through free space. This "electron" with a different mass is called an "electron quasiparticle". In another example, the aggregate motion of electrons in the valence band of a semiconductor is the same as if the semiconductor contained instead positively charged quasiparticles called holes. Other quasiparticles or collective excitations include phonons (particles derived from the vibrations of atoms in a solid), plasmons (particles derived from plasma oscillations), and many others.
These fictitious particles are typically called "quasiparticles" if they are related to fermions (like electrons and holes), and called "collective excitations" if they are related to bosons (like phonons and plasmons), although the precise distinction is not universally agreed.
Quasiparticles are most important in condensed matter physics, as it is one of the few known ways of simplifying the quantum mechanical many-body problem (and as such, it is applicable to any number of other many-body systems).
Read more about Collective Excitation: Examples of Quasiparticles and Collective Excitations, See Also
Other articles related to "collective excitation":
... A phonon is a collective excitation associated with the vibration of atoms in a rigid crystal structure ... A magnon is a collective excitation associated with the electrons' spin structure in a crystal lattice ... A roton is a collective excitation associated with the rotation of a fluid (often a superfluid) ...
Famous quotes containing the word collective:
“One of the weaknesses in the cooperative is that it has never been sufficiently leavened by the imagination. This is a quick-silver faculty, and likely to be a cause of worry to any collective settlement.”
—Edward Dahlberg (19001977)