Science Blast! — Quantum Liquid Crystals

Is this the breakthrough that the future of androids has been waiting for?

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

These images show light patterns generated by a rhenium-based crystal using a laser method called optical second-harmonic rotational anisotropy. At left, the pattern comes from the atomic lattice of the crystal. At right, the crystal has become a 3-D quantum liquid crystal, showing a drastic departure from the pattern due to the atomic lattice alone.
Credit: Hsieh Lab/Caltech

Physicists at the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter at Caltech have discovered the first three-dimensional quantum liquid crystal — a new state of matter that may have applications in ultrafast quantum computers of the future.

“We have detected the existence of a fundamentally new state of matter that can be regarded as a quantum analog of a liquid crystal,” says Caltech assistant professor of physics David Hsieh, principal investigator on a new study describing the findings in the April 21 issue of Science. “There are numerous classes of such quantum liquid crystals that can, in principle, exist; therefore, our finding is likely the tip of an iceberg.”

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