A New State of Matter

By Anupum Pant

There’s yet another state of matter that has gotten added to the list of the other unconventional states which are almost never mentioned in science classes at school. Some of these are plasmas of course, Bose–Einstein condensates, degenerate matter, Supersolids and Superfluids, and Quark-Gluon plasma…

This one is called Jahn-Teller metals. A research team led by Kosmas Prassides of Tokohu University in Japan discovered, or more like invented, this new state of matter which depending on the conditions can be an insulator, metal or superconductor…

The most interesting part about this discovery is that these substances have been seen to show superconductivity at much higher temperatures than what has been seen is substances before. If every thing goes as per plan, this discovery has the potential to offer us new materials which would conduct electricity with zero resistance and wouldn’t require out of the ordinary cooling to do so.

A simple picture about what exactly is this substance can be explained as follows.

It is a crystalline arrangement of these large molecules called the buckyballs – which are basically ball like shells made up of of 60 atoms of carbon arranged uniformly on the surface of a ball. Now, think of these individual balls getting arranged in an orderly fashion, to form a repeating lattice. And then introduce Rubidium in between them to change the distance between them.

Now, when pressure is applied to this system, it undergoes different amount of distortion at different pressures and hence the electronic properties change, depending on how much pressure is applied and how many Rubidium atoms were there in the first place.

more about it on [Vice]


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