About 50 years ago, scientists theorized the existence of a completely new form of matter. However, they lacked the evidence to prove its existence until now, when they finally managed to reach the closest stage science offered them to prove the new matter real. The object of the discovery is called excitonium, and was first introduced as a concept by Bert Halperin, a theoretical physicist from Harvard, in the 1960s.
The existence of excitonium hasn’t been proved until now
Researchers say their latest findings are the closest thing to proving that science makes possible. Peter Abbamonte, the scientist who came up with these findings, said this was still a huge achievement.
“You can never really ‘prove’ anything, but, well, people find it convincing.”
Researchers found excitonium in a solid form, as a condensate, and is made up of smaller particles called excitons. What is even more interesting about the substance is the way in which it is created. Regular particles, such as hydrogen, are created from protons and electrons, but excitons have an only an electron.
The condensate is an unusual substance with a strange behavior
Also, this electron has escaped from the regular particle, while also leaving a space behind it like a hole. This hole behaves even more oddly, as it works just like a proton would. As a result, the electron and this hole orbit each other.
To prove excitonium was real, scientists decided to scatter some electrons through a special technique. This way, they managed to observe the excitons as they were forming the condensate. From a vacuum, they scattered these electrons into waves. While studying the waves, they observed the electrons that escaped, thus forming excitonium.
Now, the researchers have to find out more about the condensate, as they are not aware of its properties. Some say it’s not able to carry energy or momentum, like an insulator, while others say it can, like a superfluid.
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