new form of matter
January 28, 2004 5:08 PM   Subscribe

Scientists at JILA have announced the creation of a new form of matter known as fermionic condensate the sixth known form of matter -- after gases, solids, liquids, plasma and Bose-Einstein condensate, created in 1995 also by JILA which won the Nobel Prize in 2001. Scientists believe fermionic condensate is one step closer to an everyday, usable superconductor. Abstract (full text subscription only).
posted by stbalbach (15 comments total)
Non-physics major announcement.
posted by stbalbach at 5:12 PM on January 28, 2004

when I was in school we called these "states" of matter. Did something change?
posted by scarabic at 5:25 PM on January 28, 2004

What about semi-solids? (Example: toothpaste) Not unique enough for its own category?
posted by banished at 6:41 PM on January 28, 2004

posted by iamck at 6:47 PM on January 28, 2004

banished: pastes are a mixture of solids and liquids, not a state of matter.
posted by RylandDotNet at 6:49 PM on January 28, 2004

Toothpaste, at the molecular level, is just a mix of solids and liquids. You can suspend a solid in a liquid (a "colloid"), which is squishy like jelly for instance. I think tooth paste contains glycerine which makes it non-fluid. Vague memory though, corrections welcome.
posted by fvw at 6:55 PM on January 28, 2004

So now my pagan circle consecrations have to have six points? I'll be here all night!
posted by kfury at 6:58 PM on January 28, 2004

Toothpaste flows, given enough time. Other substances are also less easily classified.

Is glass liquid or solid?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 7:15 PM on January 28, 2004

I don't see how a fermionic condensate would have much to do with high-Tc superconductivity. The former involves entire atoms, while the latter, since it takes place in a solid, involves only electrons and phonons.
posted by starkeffect at 8:12 PM on January 28, 2004

And why isn't superfluid helium-3 considered a "fermionic condensate"?
posted by starkeffect at 8:15 PM on January 28, 2004

I'm just a grad-school dropout but, don't the He3 nuclei pair up to form pseudo-bosons in the superfluid?
posted by Octaviuz at 12:03 AM on January 29, 2004

starkeffect, i believe this was the first creation of a superfluid using in this case magnetic resonance to induce the atoms into Cooper pairs (BCS) and then observing the transition to a bose-einstein condensate like state (actually, pseudo-bosons or fermion pairs as octaviuz states)

So, the big news here is the creation and the observation of this transition phase. Offhand, its really not all that exciting outside of the superconductivity field.

The first creation of a BE condensate however was a stunning confirmation of some deep principles in quantum physics.

The full paper is available at arxiv.
posted by vacapinta at 12:36 AM on January 29, 2004

A bit dated, starkeffect, but this should refresh you - and it's from Deborah herself.
posted by Opus Dark at 12:53 AM on January 29, 2004

My favorite colloid is pesto.
posted by lathrop at 6:37 AM on January 29, 2004

Thanks Opus... I have a PhD in physics but haven't thought about this kind of stuff for a while.
posted by starkeffect at 11:30 AM on January 29, 2004

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