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MIT scientists have synthesized, for the first time, a crystal they believe to be a two-dimensional quantum spin liquid: a solid material whose atomic spins continue to have motion, even at absolute zero temperature.

The crystal, known as herbertsmithite, is part of a family of crystals called Zn-paratacamites, which were first discovered in 1906. Physicists started paying more attention to quantum spin liquids in 1987, when Nobel laureate Philip W. Anderson theorized that quantum spin liquid theory may relate to the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, which allows materials to conduct electricity with no resistance at temperatures above 20 degrees Kelvin (-253 degrees Celsius).

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Category: Science