There’s a new state of matter: Quantum spin liquid

Physicists from the University of Cambridge and an international group of researchers discovered evidence of a strange state of matter that was first predicted 40 years ago, but never tangibly observed. It’s called “quantum spin liquid” and it’s breaking apart the building blocks of life previously thought to be indivisible.

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Physicists have mixed matter and light at room temperature for the first time
By Fiona MacDonald

In a lovely demonstration of light’s quantum effects, physicists in the UK have just mixed a molecule with light at room temperature for the first time ever.

Light and matter are usually separate, with totally distinct properties, but now scientists have trapped a particle of light - called a photon - with a molecule in a tiny, golden cage of mirrors.

That’s a big deal, because it creates a whole new way to manipulate the physical and chemical properties of matter, and could change the way we process quantum information.
Physicists observe brand-new state of matter in an unexpected material
Curiouser and curiouser.
By Fiona MacDonald

Back in April, the physics world freaked out when scientists confirmed that they’d made the first direct observation of a brand-new state of matter - known as quantum spin liquid - for the first time.

But now a team of physicists has just announced that they’ve observed quantum spin liquid state again… and this time in a material where it should be impossible.

The discovery could change our understanding of how to make quantum computing work.

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It wrinkles my brain that “normal” matter—quarks, protons, electrons, photons, all the stuff with which we’re capable of interacting—makes up less than 5% of the universe. The rest of the universe consists of dark matter and dark energy, both of which remain total mysteries to us. We can’t hear, touch, smell, or see the stuff that makes up 95% of the cosmos… Considering this, would it really have been too much to ask for Donald Trump to have been made from that stuff?
States of Matter: Plasma
Plasma is a state of matter that is similar to gas, but the atomic particles are charged rather than neutral.

Plasma is a state of matter that is often thought of as a subset of gases, but the two states behave very differently. Like gases, plasmas have no fixed shape or volume, and are less dense than solids or liquids. But unlike ordinary gases, plasmas are made up of atoms in which some or all of the electrons have been stripped away and positively charged nuclei, called ions, roam freely.

“A gas is made of neutral molecules and atoms,” said Xuedong Hu, a professor of physics at the University at Buffalo. That is, the number of negatively charged electrons equals the number of positively charged protons.

“Plasma is a charged gas, with strong Coulomb [or electrostatic] interactions,” Hu told Live Science. Atoms or molecules can acquire a positive or negative electrical charge when they gain or lose electrons. This process is called ionization. Plasma makes up the sun and stars, and it is the most common state of matter in the universe as a whole.

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