Physicists Reveal Supersolid, with Superfluid Properties

Sunday, March 5, 2017 - 20:18

Researchers at MIT University have created a supersolid, which combines the properties of solids with those of superfluids.

Researchers believe that the new discovery could lead to breakthroughs in superconducting magnets and super-efficient energy transport systems, Daily Mail reports.

As team leader Wolfgang Ketterle, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Physics at MIT explained, using lasers to manipulate a superfluid gas known as a Bose-Einstein condensate, the team was able to coax the condensate into a quantum phase of matter that has a rigid structure, like a solid, but can flow without viscosity, a key characteristic of a superfluid.

Studies into this apparently contradictory phase of matter could yield deeper insights into superfluids and superconductors, which are important for improvements in technologies such as superconducting magnets and sensors, as well as efficient energy transport, the team said.

The team used a combination of laser cooling and evaporative cooling methods, originally co-developed by Ketterle, to cool atoms of sodium to nanokelvin temperatures.

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