New 2D state of matter discovered


The excitation of a spin liquid on a honeycomb lattice with neutrons. image: genevieve martin, oak ridge national laboratory

A curious new two dimensional state of matter has been observed. It really only seems to occur in certain magnetic materials but was predicted some 40 years ago. 

Here is an extract from how it is described by the researchers involved:

"This is a new quantum state of matter, which has been predicted but hasn't been seen before," said Dr Johannes Knolle of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory, one of the paper's co-authors.

In a typical magnetic material, the electrons each behave like tiny bar magnets. And when a material is cooled to a low enough temperature, the 'magnets' will order themselves, so that all the north magnetic poles point in the same direction, for example.

But in a material containing a spin liquid state, even if that material is cooled to absolute zero, the bar magnets would not align but form an entangled soup caused by quantum fluctuations.

"Until recently, we didn't even know what the experimental fingerprints of a quantum spin liquid would look like," said paper co-author Dr Dmitry Kovrizhin, also from the Theory of Condensed Matter group of the Cavendish Laboratory. "One thing we've done in previous work is to ask, if I were performing experiments on a possible quantum spin liquid, what would I observe?"

 Source, New state of matter detected in a two-dimensional material UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE.

Also of note it describes something called a Fermion Majorana particle.

© Richard Conan-Davies 2017 | contact | permissions | privacy | site map |