An Augusta University researcher has theoretically discovered a new novel form of matter.
Dr. Theja De Silva, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Physics of the College of Science and Mathematics, published his findings in the January 2018 issue of the American Physical Society’s Physical Review A.
The new form of matter, which De Silva said he discovered while studying the physics of high-temperature superconducting compounds, demonstrates properties of both superconductors and metals at the same time—a phenomena previously not known to exist.
As certain materials experience mechanical or chemical pressure, they can undergo a physical process known as phase transition, becoming either insulators, superconductors or metals.
In addition to charge and mass, electrons possess a degree of freedom known as “spin.” As these materials undergo phase transition, the spin and charge of electrons can separate due to fundamental quantum mechanical effects.
De Silva said he discovered the new form of matter by treating electrons in these specific materials as a bound state of charge and spin.
“This led to a new symmetry breaking of electron systems, giving rise to this novel state of matter,” De Silva said. “This new symmetry breaking is a combination of symmetry breaking of electrons associate with metal and superconductor, thus showing both superconducting and metal properties at the same time.”
The study of superconductivity, which led to the discovery, is largely fueled by demand for novel materials for future energy applications. As modern devices increase in processing power and shrink in size, new materials will be needed to meet the energy demand.
De Silva said superconductors, which experience complete loss of electrical resistance, can hold up to five times more energy than traditional copper wiring, thus making them highly desirable to innovators.
Contact Dr. Theja De Silva for more information.