It is a transparent, massless and neutral particle with the ability to manifest itself regardless of temperature, making it useful for superconductors. Scientists have discovered a remarkable “demon particle” that has the potential to usher in a new era of superconductors, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
A study published in the journal Nature details the discovery of the particle, first predicted nearly 70 years ago by physicist David Pines. A superconductor, a special type of metal or alloy, has the remarkable ability to transmit electric current without any obstacles. However, current superconductors require the temperature to drop below 100 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain their properties.
Recent advances by University of Illinois scientists have led to the identification of a transparent, massless and neutral particle, suggesting its ability to manifest regardless of temperature in the metal strontium ruthenate.
While superconductors already find use in applications such as maglev trains and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines that increase precision, the emergence of materials that can perform this feat at room temperature could revolutionize the landscape and open the door to creating more powerful computer systems. .
Pines’ demon is a plasmon which behaves like a particle meaning it is a quasiparticle
Peter Abbamonte, professor of physics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and lead author of the study. study in press release says “The vast majority of experiments are done with light and measure optical properties, but being electrically neutral means that demons don’t interact with light”.
The team said they chose strontium ruthenate (Sr2RuO4) because it is similar to high-temperature superconductors, yet it is not.
former graduate student Ali Husain, co-author of the study says “At first we had no idea what it was. Demons are not in the mainstream. The possibility came early and we basically laughed it off. But when we started ruling things out, we started to suspect we had found a demon”.
The researchers added that further research using alternative observational methods is needed to fully understand how the quasiparticles work.