Apr 21, 2017 01:21 PM EDT
A new state of matter was reported to be found by physicists from the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter at Caltech. The newly discovered matter called liquid crystals was later found to have several advantages like creating quantum computers in the future.
According to Phys, Caltech's Jim Eisenstein discovered the first 2D liquid crystals. On the other hand, Caltech’s assistant professor of physics David Hsieh and a postdoctoral scholar in the Hsieh lab, John Harter discovered the first 3D liquid crystals. The discovery was just due to serendipity as Harter was originally studying the atomic structure of a metal compound based on the element rhenium.
Liquid crystals were then mentioned to be a new state of matter found in just the middle of the solid and liquid states. The new matter was described further to be made up of free molecules just like liquid. But, those free molecules just flow in one direction just like the solid state. It was also mentioned to be found naturally like in biological cell membranes. Other materials like watches, smartphones, televisions, and others that have display screens were mentioned as well.
Afterward, the research team concluded that liquid crystals could be used in a field called spintronics. In which, the new state of matter could aid in making much more faster and efficient chips in the future. Liquid crystals were also mentioned to possibly aid in cracking the code on how to make quantum computers per Science Daily.
"In the same way that 2-D quantum liquid crystals have been proposed to be a precursor to high-temperature superconductors, 3-D quantum liquid crystals could be the precursors to the topological superconductors we've been looking for," says Hsieh pointing to the solution in making quantum computers possible.
The 3D liquid crystals’ study was entitled "A parity-breaking electronic nematic phase transition in the spin-orbit coupled metal Cd2Re2O7.” The researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee’s discovery was published in the journal Science on April 21.