Who won the Nobel prize for Physics in 2016? For what studies? How are they relevant to us? Write a note on "strange matter."
British-born scientists David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz were awarded 2016 Nobel Prize in physics for studies on exotic matter that could result in improved materials for electronics or quantum computers.
They discovered unexpected behaviours of solid materials and devised a mathematical framework to explain their properties.The academy cited the three for “theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.” Topology is a branch of mathematics that describes properties of objects.
“This year’s Laureates opened the door on an unknown world where matter can assume strange states. They have used advanced mathematical methods to study unusual phases, or states, of matter, such as superconductors, superfluids or thin magnetic films.Thanks to their pioneering work, the hunt is now on for new and exotic phases of matter. Many people are hopeful of future applications in both materials science and electronics.” When matter is in extreme conditions, such as when it's very cold or flat, scientists start to see unusual behaviour from the atoms.
The academy said the laureates’ work in the 1970s and 1980s opened the door to a previously unknown world where matter takes unusual states or phases.Their discoveries have brought about breakthroughs in the theoretical understanding of matter’s mysteries.”
They focused on phenomena that arise in flat forms of matter - on surfaces or inside extremely thin layers that can be considered two-dimensional.This contrasts with the three dimensions (length, width and height) with which we usually describe reality.They also studied matter that forms threads so thin they can be considered one-dimensional.
Nobel judges often award discoveries made decades ago to make sure they withstand the test of time.
Exotic/Strange Matter and its applications
Phase transitions occur when matter changes from one phase to another, such as when ice melts and becomes water.They described a type of phase transition in a thin layer of very cold matter. In the cold, vortices form as tight pairs, but at higher temperatures, as the phase transition occurs, they separate and "sail" off in different directions.One aspect of the work, known as the Quantum Hall effect, has led to a real-world application in metrology to give a precise definition of the Ohm in resistance. Scientists are exploring whether topological concepts could be used in "robust quantum devices which can do things that classical computers or classical circuit elements are unable to do".
Microsoft's Station Q project is taking just such an approach to the development of powerful quantum computers.In addition, topological metals could be used in the manufacture of improved conductors or transistors. Physicists are working very hard in the labs to get new materials which have interesting properties of conducting electricity.
Today's advanced technology relies on our ability to understand and control the properties of the materials involved.This has paved the way for designing new materials with novel properties and there is great hope that this will be important for many future technologies.Their work could result in improved materials for electronics and is already informing one approach to super-fast computing.Thus, The physicists' pioneering research could be used in the next generation of electronics and superconductors.