New form of matter called Excitonium


  • Researchers at the University of Illinois have announced discovery of new form of matter called excitonium. 
  • The existence of this strange and mysterious type of matter was theorized after the term excitonium was theoretically coined by Harvard theoretical physicist named Bert Halper in the 1960s,
  • To prove existence of excitons, scientists had studied crystals doped with dichalcogenide titanium diselenide (1T-TiSe2), a transition metal. 
  • This material is made up of a kind of boson, a composite particle that could allow matter to act as a superfluid, superconductor, or even as an insulating electronic crystal. 
  • Scientists were able to observe existence of excitonium using novel technique called momentum-resolved electron energy-loss spectroscopy (M-EELS).

About Excitonium:

  • Excitonium is a condensate made up of excitons and exhibits macroscopic quantum phenomena just like a superconductor.
  • Excitons are particles that are formed in a very strange quantum mechanical pairing.
  • They are obtained by combining escaped electrons and “holes”.
  • This quirky quantum-mechanical pairing is possible because, in semiconductors, electrons on edge of one energy level in atom are able to jump into the next energy level when excited, leaving behind a “hole” in previous level.
  • This hole acts like a positively charged particle, attracting the negatively charged electron that escaped.
  • Excitonium exhibits macroscopic quantum phenomena, like a superconductor and this findings holds great promise for unlocking further quantum mechanical mysteries.
  • As a superconductor and superfluid, this material can be used to further existing technologies.
  • These applications, especially those in practical technologies, are purely speculative at this point.

Source: Indian Express & Wiki

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