Scientists have created a 2D supersolid for the first time

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,601   +139
Staff member
Editor's take: Scientists are learning more about quantum mechanics every day. Despite all the advancements that have been made to date, it's hard not to feel like we've just barely scratched the surface of a very bizarre field that might not be fully understood for decades to come.

A team of Austrian researchers have managed to create a two-dimensional supersolid for the first time.

As Science Alert explains, scientists have been working toward this eventuality for more than 50 years. The first major breakthrough occurred a few years ago when researchers successfully created a string of droplets along one dimension, but now they’ve done it in two dimensions.

But what exactly is a supersolid, you ask? Good question.

Supersolids are a quantum state of matter with atoms arranged in the order of a solid. What makes them mind-bending is that they can also flow without any friction, like a superfluid. Bruno Laburthe-Tolra, a physicist with the Laser Physics Laboratory in Paris, likens a supersolid to an ice cube immersed in liquid water, with frictionless flow of the water through the cube.

“The particles in a supersolid state are both locked into a rigid solid structure, but also delocalized at the same time, which allows them to behave like a wave and flow freely without friction throughout the solid.” - Science Alert

With two dimensions now at their disposal, scientists hope to learn a lot more about this bizarre state of matter. “For example, in a two-dimensional supersolid system, one can study how vortices form in the hole between several adjacent droplets,” said Matthew Norcia, a physicist involved with the breakthrough.

The team’s paper on the matter, “Two-dimensional supersolidity in a dipolar quantum gas,” has been published in Nature.

Image credit IQOQI Innsbruck/Harald Ritsch

Permalink to story.

 

Reehahs

Posts: 1,293   +960
"Two-dimensional supersolidity in a dipolar quantum gas"

Is this a comprehension test?
 

BobDoleStillAliv

Posts: 19   +21
Man I feel stupid, and I'm pretty sure I'm above average intelligence (Embedded Firmware Architect is my title). I have no idea what these people are talking about
 

Rock Dirty

Posts: 51   +75
"with atoms arranged in the order of a solid"

What does "in the order of a solid" mean?

Yes, I have an engineering degree.
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 928   +821
"with atoms arranged in the order of a solid"

What does "in the order of a solid" mean?

Yes, I have an engineering degree.

It means that they can form an ordered crystal like array, just like most normal 3D materials. However, they need to be held in this array by some means, such as an optical trap. They can't naturally form a crystalline array. The weirdness is that they can easily flow like a superfluid without resistance. Don't forget all this is only occurring at temperatures near absolute zero and also in hard vacuum.
 

Tantor

Posts: 212   +401
There is no such thing as a 2D solid. What they have done is take a 3D term and apply it to 2D mathematical theory.
It means that they can form an ordered crystal like array, just like most normal 3D materials. However, they need to be held in this array by some means, such as an optical trap. They can't naturally form a crystalline array. The weirdness is that they can easily flow like a superfluid without resistance. Don't forget all this is only occurring at temperatures near absolute zero and also in hard vacuum.

Define 'they'.
 

cliffordcooley

Posts: 13,059   +6,375
This explains nothing to me. As soon as quantum is mentioned. All I can think of is someone with a vivid imagination.
 

Mugsy

Posts: 740   +173
The only "invention" here is the redefinition of "2D".

There is simply NO way for a 2D object to exist in a 3D world. You can't "suppress" the other dimensions. It would be like claiming a shadow to be a "solid". If something exists in a world with more than two dimensions, even it it only 1 quark thick, it's 3D, not 2D.

Ditto for the false claim of a 1D fluid.
 

Markoni35

Posts: 1,318   +534
Oh, great, it's like using Unity 3D to make 2D games, right? :)

Anyway, will this enable them to produce something like "metal-glass"? Atoms arranged into metal lattice for strength and elasticity, while being transparent for EM waves? Yes? No? Imagine having transparent metal. Wouldn't that be cool?
 

Mugsy

Posts: 740   +173
Oh, great, it's like using Unity 3D to make 2D games, right? :)

Anyway, will this enable them to produce something like "metal-glass"? Atoms arranged into metal lattice for strength and elasticity, while being transparent for EM waves? Yes? No? Imagine having transparent metal. Wouldn't that be cool?
"Transparent Aluminum". See "Star Trek 4".
 

Rock Dirty

Posts: 51   +75
It means that they can form an ordered crystal like array, just like most normal 3D materials. However, they need to be held in this array by some means, such as an optical trap. They can't naturally form a crystalline array. The weirdness is that they can easily flow like a superfluid without resistance. Don't forget all this is only occurring at temperatures near absolute zero and also in hard vacuum.
"occurring at temperatures near absolute zero and also in hard vacuum"

Oh, well, that's easy. I can create those conditions in my living room by having a argument with my wife. I don't see what the problem is with this not being more widely available.