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article imageHas a new phase of matter been discovered?

By Tim Sandle     Jun 1, 2017 in Science
Particle physicists have put forward the notion that possibility that some types of glass may exist in a new state of matter at low temperatures.
After several years of research, not to mention 30 pages of algebraic calculations, scientists now think that some types of glass may exist in a new state of matter at low temperatures. The research comes from Duke University, in the U.S.
It was first noted thirty years ago: using microscopy, if a crystal is examined there appears an ordered array of atoms, which are evenly spaced like the intricately arranged windows. However, a similar microscopic focus on a slither of glass reveals a different picture. Here the order is less precise, almost messy, with crystals resembling random pile of sand. This structural difference is all very interesting but what does it mean? For decades scientists have debated and discussed whether what can be seen microscopically is a 'new' state of matter?
The answer, according to Dr. Sho Yaida, is yes: some types of glass exist in a new state of matter at low temperatures. This has been reached through some advanced mathematical calculations, dawn from particle physics. This newly found state of matter is significant because it influences influencing how material at his point respond to heat, sound and stress; it also informs how they are likely to break.
States of matter
There are five known phases, or states, of matter: solids, liquids, gases, plasma and Bose-Einstein condensates. The main difference in the structures of each state is in the densities of the particles.
The discovery, if later supported by follow-up research, could have implications. This comes down to poring the existence of a phase transition which could significantly change the properties of glass at low temperatures. his would affect affects how sound propagates, how much heat can be absorbed, the transport of information through the glass, across three-dimensions.
For further details the calculations are detailed in the journal Physical Review Letters ("Nontrivial Critical Fixed Point for Replica-Symmetry-Breaking Transitions.")
More about Physics, Matter, materials, Glass
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