Mar 30, 2012Science and Technology
UC San Diego physicists advance optoelectronics by finding patterns in new state of matter

Physicists at the University of California, San Diego have discovered patterns which underlie the properties of a new state of matter. In a paper published in the March 29 issue of the journal Nature, the scientists describe the emergence of “spontaneous coherence,” “spin textures” and “phase singularities” when excitons -- the bound pairs of electrons and holes that determine the optical properties of semiconductors and enable them to function as novel optoelectronic devices -- are cooled to near absolute zero. The discovery of the phenomena that underlie the formation of spontaneous coherence of excitons is certain to produce a better scientific understanding of this new state of matter. It will also add new insights into the quirky quantum properties of matter and, in time, lead to the development of novel computing devices and other commercial applications in the field of optoelectronics where understanding of basic properties of light and matter is needed.

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