Physicists just gifted us ‘quantum spin liquid,’ a weird new state of matter
Harvard researchers observe a state of matter predicted and hunted for 50 years but never previously observed . In 1973, physicist Philip W. Anderson theorized the existence of a new state of matter that has been a major focus of the field, especially in the race for quantum computers. This bizarre state of matter is called a quantum spin liquid.
A solid is made of atoms that are, more or less, locked in an ordered structure. A liquid, on the other hand, is made of atoms that can flow freely around and past each other. But imagine atoms that stay unfrozen, like those in a liquid–but which are in a constantly changing magnetic mess.
What you have then is a never-before-seen state of matter, a state of quantum weirdness called a quantum spin liquid. Now, by carefully manipulating atoms, researchers have managed to create this state in the laboratory. The researchers published their work in the journal Science on December 2.