Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

March 18, 2023

Scientists create a working supersolid in the lab

Filed under: Emerging Tech,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 11:34 PM

It seems that every year we learn more about the universe that makes the basic physics that we learned in school inaccurate or rather puts a lot of caveats in to the theories. Originally we had 3 states of matter: Solid, liquid and gas. Then came things like superfluids, Bose–Einstein condensates, quantum spin liquid, supercritical fluid, quark–gluon plasma, Rydberg polaron, and so many more weird possibilities. Last week, scientists from Innsbruck University in Austria have managed to create a new state of matter in 2D called Supersolids. Till now the researchers had only been able to create a 1D (a few molecules long) chain of SuperSolids but using cutting edge research they were able to create a 2D ‘paper’ of supersolid.

If you are like me, by now you will be wondering what on earth is a supersolid… Basically it is a state of matter that incorporates two different states of matter at the same time i.e. it is a solid as well as a superfluid at the same time. This gives it the ability to be a solid and still flow like a liquid without any friction at the same time. If that sounds confusing it is so because we are talking about Quantum effects which seem to exist in a state of constant contradiction and confusion (At least for me, when I try to understand them).

“To picture a supersolid, consider an ice cube immersed in liquid water, with frictionless flow of the water through the cube,” wrote Bruno Labruthe-Tolra, a physicist at Sorbonne Paris North University.

So, to create a supersolid, you first trap some atoms, then cool them, then play with their interactions. “If you tune those correctly, and you tune the shape of the trap correctly, you can get a supersolid,” says Norcia, the lead author.

Using this method, in 2019, researchers began to create a basic, one-dimensional supersolid: essentially, a thin supersolid tube in a straight line.

That’s what Norcia and his colleagues at Innsbruck University and the Austrian Academy of Sciences have now done. By tinkering with the device they used to trap atoms and the process they used to condense the atoms, they were able to extend their supersolid from one dimension into two: from a tiny tube into a small sheet.

There are a lot of interesting usecases for this technology when it matures, we could use it for lubrication in industrial machinery, create frictionless surfaces for tests. It could even be used in vacuum as is for various usecases. But that is still quite a way off because the work to go from 2D to 3D has just started and is still in the pre-research stage. However, while that is going on we do have a superSolid paper available for study while will give us more insight into this fascinating new substance.

The research has been published in Nature: Supersolids go two-dimensional

Source: We finally have a working supersolid. Here’s why that matters.

– Suramya

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress