A collaboration of Australian and European physicists predict that layered electronic 2D semiconductors can host a curious quantum phase of matter called the "supersolid."

The supersolid is a very counterintuitive phase indeed. It is made up of particles that simultaneously form a rigid crystal and yet at the same time flow without friction since all the particles belong to the same single quantum state.

A solid becomes "super" when its quantum properties match the well-known quantum properties of superconductors. A supersolid simultaneously has two orders, solid and super:

  • Solid because of the spatially repeating pattern of particles.
  • Super because the particles can flow without resistance.

"Although a supersolid is rigid, it can flow like a liquid without resistance," explains Lead author Dr. Sara Conti (University of Antwerp).

The study was conducted at UNSW (Australia), University of Antwerp (Belgium) and University of Camerino (Italy) and has been published in Physical Review Letters.

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