Although most people already know the four classical states of matter (solid, liquid, gas, plasma), physicists at the University of Ladbergdeine in the Netherlands and uppsala university in Sweden have come up with a new form of matter, the self-induced spin glass. When electrons in the material’s atoms rotate in the same direction, magnetism is usually generated. But in the spin glass state, the atomic magnet spun out of order in a random direction.
Study matching – 1: The difference between a normal magnet and a spin glass state (from: Radboud University)
Previously, scientists had only found “rotating glass” in some alloys, but new research has found that this state also naturally exists in the pure element neodymium. To distinguish it from the alloy, scientists call this new state a “self-contained rotating glass state.”
Given the strange magnetism of radon, the team decided to use a scanning tunnel microscope (STM) to examine it.
It turns out that the atomic spin in the vortex is more like a spiral, or even weird enough to rotate at different speeds, meaning that the shape of the spiral is constantly changing.
Daniel Wegner, author of the paper, says STM allows us to see a single atomic structure and distinguish its poles.
Although not an easy task, with advances in high-precision imaging technology, an in-depth study of the pure self-sensing rotating glass state may still help to address the insatiable lysinity of small changes.
Study Map – 2: Spin-Q glass (from: Science)
The team added that the findings suggest that pure radon may not be the only substance with a self-contained rotating glass state, and that the same pattern may be hidden in other elements.
As for the potential use of the new findings, the researchers believe it could help in future areas of behavioral research in artificial intelligence systems, especially neuron-like ones.
Details of the study have been published in the recent journal Science.
Originally published as Self-induced spin glass state in elemental and crystalline neodymium.