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A new state of matter, kind of magnetism

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Researchers at MIT have discovered a new state of matter with a new kind of magnetism. This new state, called a quantum spin liquid (QSL), could lead to significant advances in data storage. QSLs also exhibit a quantum phenomenon called long-range entanglement, which could lead to new types of communications systems, and more.

http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/143782-mit-discovers-a-new-state-of-matter-a-new-kind-of-magnetism

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Im going to assume the Government has already grabbed this technological advance as it would be a quite powerful weapon.

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i 'm anxious to hear what our resident physicist (sepulchrave) has to say about this .. and what this means (if anything) in the BIG picture.

* h

Edited by lightly

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This research is definitely cool, but it isn't that exciting in the ``big picture''.

In a sense, this is analogous to the Higgs' boson; actually creating a 3D quantum spin liquid is pretty neat, but everyone assumed they existed already.

Quantum spin liquids in 1D atomic chains (like in KCuF3) have been known about for quite some time (see this paper from 1995, for example).

Forming a quantum spin liquid in a 3D network is an important step towards using this effect for practical applications (like data storage and better batteries, personally I think the communications application could easily be served by 1D quantum spin liquids as well, but I am not completely sure about that), but remember that this effect only manifests at extremely low temperatures; in their paper the scientists report that they cooled the material to 1.6 K to measure the quantum spin liquid.

Until we can get materials to exhibit ``quantum weirdness'' (like QSL, or superconductivity, or Bose-Einstein condensation, etc.) at higher temperatures (ideally, room temperature) it will be quite difficult to get commonplace practical applications from these effects.

So: cool science, nice verification of predictions, but so far not likely to have a huge impact on materials science.

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Thanks sepulchrave , for supplying a knowledge based perspective on the importance of this.

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Interesting Thank You. So it can be done at very low temperatures but not replicated at normal temperatures ?

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How interesting, :yes:

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Interesting Thank You. So it can be done at very low temperatures but not replicated at normal temperatures ?

Yes. Almost every time you hear of a ``weird quantum effect'' it is a low-temperature thing.

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Thnak You. that makes an interesting note for places like Io around Saturn I think it is. Very cold there.

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I just want to know what they mean by, "new types of communication systems," is all.

Edited by xTc i_i

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I just want to know what they mean by, "new types of communication systems," is all.

I think they are talking about methods of implementing quantum cryptography, but I could be wrong.

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