Thursday, October 23, 2008

Scientists Discover New State of Matter, Could Be Used To Upgrade Microchips


McGill University researchers have discovered a new state of matter to go along with good ol' solid, liquid, gas, plasma and a handful of quantum states—it's called a quasi-three-dimensional electron crystal. While the name sounds like something that would sap Superman's powers, this new state of matter could be used to fabricate modern transistors and continue Moore's Law... possibly indefinitely.

The quasi-three-dimensional electron crystals were discovered in a device scientists cooled at ultra-low temperatures – roughly 100 times colder than intergalactic space. They then exposed it to the most powerful magnetic fields possible on Earth, which made it "pop" from a 2D electron system to a semi-3D one. It could also help improve transistors, allowing for greater density on a single microchip. Looks like Gordon Moore can rest assure that his law won't be broken for another long while. [Science Blog]

(Note: That's not a picture of the new state of matter, by the way.)