It's a solid... it's a liquid... it's a dropleton

2014-02-26 22:29

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - Scientists said on Wednesday they had discovered a new type of microscopic particle cluster that is found in solid materials but strangely behaves like a liquid.

They called it the "dropleton".

The new entity, infinitely small and with a blink-and-you-miss-it lifespan, is a quasiparticle - a combination of other, fundamental particles with unusual properties that exist in solids.

"The dropleton is a new element - a stable building block to build more complicated many-particle constructions in solids," study co-author Mackillo Kira of the Philipps-University Marburg in Germany told AFP of the discovery.

"Our discovery adds a new element to the 'periodic table' of existing quasiparticles in solids."

Each dropleton or "quantum droplet" is thought to comprise about five electrons and five quantum "holes" - spaces in solid matter where an electron once was, according to a paper published in the journal Nature.

Stimulated by light, this combination of smaller particles briefly condense into a "droplet" with characteristics of liquid water, which includes that it can have ripples.

The dropleton exists for a mere 25 picoseconds (trillionths of a second).

Though fleeting, this is long enough for researchers to study how light interacts with specialised forms of matter, according to a statement from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which took part in the study.

The dropleton was discovered when researchers bombarded a semiconductor made of gallium arsenide with lasers at a rate of 100 million pulses per second in search of new quasiparticles.

The main use of the discovery is to understand more about how photons, or particles of light, can react with matter.

But the dropleton's high sensitivity to light could also give it an application in light-detecting electronic devices.

Another example of a quasiparticle is the exciton, which is comprised of one electron and one "hole", attracted to one another by electrostatic forces.

Read more on:    nature journal  |  germany  |  science  |  research
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
31 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Something may come back into focus. You may get a second chance to say what needs to be said. The important focus today is to not...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.