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Jun 14, 2019

Revealing ‘hidden’ phases of matter through the power of light

Posted by in categories: materials, particle physics

Most people think of water as existing in only one of three phases: Solid ice, liquid water, or gas vapor. But matter can exist in many different phases—ice, for example, has more than ten known phases, or ways that its atoms can be spatially arranged. The widespread use of piezoelectric materials, such as microphones and ultrasound, is possible thanks to a fundamental understanding of how an external force, like pressure, temperature, or electricity, can lead to phase transitions that imbue materials with new properties.

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