Physicists Create "Impossible" New Form of Matter: Supersolids

Posted by Megalith 10:25 AM (CST)

Sunday March 05, 2017

American and Swiss researchers had gotten bored with the basic states of matter and decided to create a substance that combines the properties of both solids and superfluids. I have no clue what kind of breakthroughs this will lead to, but the scientific community can at least gloat about proving a long-held theory. Apparently, the feat was managed by cooling atoms to nanokelvin temperatures and then manipulating them with lasers.

MIT physicists have created a new form of matter, a supersolid, which combines the properties of solids with those of superfluids. By using lasers to manipulate a superfluid gas known as a Bose-Einstein condensate, the team was able to coax the condensate into a quantum phase of matter that has a rigid structureآ—like a solidآ—and can flow without viscosityآ—a key characteristic of a superfluid. Studies into this apparently contradictory phase of matter could yield deeper insights into superfluids and superconductors, which are important for improvements in technologies such as superconducting magnets and sensors, as well as efficient energy transport.