Newly Discovered Type of “Strange Metal” – Material That Shares Fundamental Quantum Attributes With Black Holes - SciTechDaily
Jan 17, 2022 2 mins, 12 secs
Understanding these so-called “strange metals” could provide fundamental insights into the quantum world, and potentially help scientists understand strange phenomena like high-temperature superconductivity.

Now, a research team co-led by a Brown University physicist has added a new discovery to the strange metal mix.

In research published in the journal Nature, the team found strange metal behavior in a material in which electrical charge is carried not by electrons, but by more “wave-like” entities called Cooper pairs.

While electrons belong to a class of particles called fermions, Cooper pairs act as bosons, which follow very different rules from fermions.

This is the first time strange metal behavior has been seen in a bosonic system, and researchers are hopeful that the discovery might be helpful in finding an explanation for how strange metals work — something that has eluded scientists for decades.

“What this says is that any theory to explain strange metal behavior can’t be specific to either type of particle.

“To try to understand what’s happening in these strange metals, people have applied mathematical approaches similar to those used to understand black holes,” Valles said.

In 1952, Nobel Laureate Leon Cooper, now a Brown professor emeritus of physics, discovered that in normal superconductors (not the high-temperature kind discovered later), electrons team up to form Cooper pairs, which can glide through an atomic lattice with no resistance.

Despite being formed by two electrons, which are fermions, Cooper pairs can act as bosons.

In 2019, Valles and his colleagues showed that Cooper pair bosons can produce metallic behavior, meaning they can conduct electricity with some amount of resistance.

For this latest research, the team wanted to see if bosonic Cooper-pair metals were also strange metals.

The team used a cuprate material called yttrium barium copper oxide patterned with tiny holes that induce the Cooper-pair metallic state.

They found, like fermionic strange metals, a Cooper-pair metal conductance that is linear with temperatureC

The researchers say this new discovery will give theorists something new to chew on as they try to understand strange metal behavior.

“Our work shows that if you’re going to model charge transport in strange metals, that model must apply to both fermions and bosons — even though these types of particles follow fundamentally different rules.”.

Strange metal behavior could hold the key to understanding high-temperature superconductivity, which has vast potential for things like lossless power grids and quantum computers.

And because strange metal behavior seems to be related to fundamental constants of the universe, understanding their behavior could shed light on basic truths of how the physical world works.


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