Physicists Discover First 3D Example of a Quantum Spin Liquid
(ScienceAlert) Physicists at Rice University have discovered a material that could qualify as the first known three-dimensional example of a quantum spin liquid – an exotic theoretical phase of matter. Quantum spin liquids aren’t actually liquids, but a kind of solid, magnetic matter that exhibits a strange form of behavior at the subatomic particle level, specifically in terms of its electrons.
A new research effort by Andrly Nevidomskyy and his team looks to have found what could be the first candidate for a 3D material that could embody this incredibly elusive state of matter: single crystals of cerium zirconium pyrochlore.
“Although we have theoretical models where we know, for a fact, that the result will be a spin liquid, finding an actual physical material that would fulfil those properties has, so far, proven very difficult,” explains Nevidomskyy.