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State of matter

Not to be confused with Phase (matter).

In physics, a state of matter is one of the distinct forms in which matter can exist. Four states of matter are observable in everyday life: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. Many intermediate states are known to exist, such as liquid crystal, and some states only exist under extreme conditions, such as Bose–Einstein condensates, neutron-degenerate matter, and quark–gluon plasma, which only occur, respectively, in situations of extreme cold, extreme density, and extremely high energy. For a complete list of all exotic states of matter, see the list of states of matter.

The four common states of matter. Clockwise from top left, they are solid, liquid, plasma, and gas, represented by an ice sculpture, a drop of water, electrical arcing from a tesla coil, and the air around clouds, respectively.

Historically, the distinction is made based on qualitative differences in properties. Matter in the solid state maintains a fixed volume and shape, with component particles (atoms, molecules or ions) close together and fixed into place. Matter in the liquid state maintains a fixed volume, but has a variable shape that adapts to fit its container. Its particles are still close together but move freely. Matter in the gaseous state has both variable volume and shape, adapting both to fit its container. Its particles are neither close together nor fixed in place. Matter in the plasma state has variable volume and shape, and contains neutral atoms as well as a significant number of ions and electrons, both of which can move around freely.

The term phase is sometimes used as a synonym for state of matter, but a system can contain several immiscible phases of the same state of matter.

Contents

Solid

A crystalline solid: atomic resolution image of strontium titanate. Brighter atoms are strontium and darker ones are titanium.
Main article: Solid

In a solid, constituent particles (ions, atoms, or molecules) are closely packed together. The forces between particles are so strong that the particles cannot move freely but can only vibrate. As a result, a solid has a stable, definite shape, and a definite volume. Solids can only change their shape by an outside force, as when broken or cut.

In crystalline solids, the particles (atoms, molecules, or ions) are packed in a regularly ordered, repeating pattern. There are various different crystal structures, and the same substance can have more than one structure (or solid phase). For example, iron has a body-centred cubic structure at temperatures below 912 °C (1,674 °F), and a face-centred cubic structure between 912 and 1,394 °C (2,541 °F). Ice has fifteen known crystal structures, or fifteen solid phases, which exist at various temperatures and pressures.

Glasses and other non-crystalline, amorphous solids without long-range order are not thermal equilibrium ground states; therefore they are described below as nonclassical states of matter.

Solids can be transformed into liquids by melting, and liquids can be transformed into solids by freezing. Solids can also change directly into gases through the process of sublimation, and gases can likewise change directly into solids through deposition.

Liquid

Structure of a classical monatomic liquid. Atoms have many nearest neighbors in contact, yet no long-range order is present.
Main article: Liquid

A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid that conforms to the shape of its container but retains a (nearly) constant volume independent of pressure. The volume is definite if the temperature and pressure are constant. When a solid is heated above its melting point, it becomes liquid, given that the pressure is higher than the triple point of the substance. Intermolecular (or interatomic or interionic) forces are still important, but the molecules have enough energy to move relative to each other and the structure is mobile. This means that the shape of a liquid is not definite but is determined by its container. The volume is usually greater than that of the corresponding solid, the best known exception being water, H2O. The highest temperature at which a given liquid can exist is its critical temperature.

Gas

The spaces between gas molecules are very big. Gas molecules have very weak or no bonds at all. The molecules in "gas" can move freely and fast.
Main article: Gas

A gas is a compressible fluid. Not only will a gas conform to the shape of its container but it will also expand to fill the container.

In a gas, the molecules have enough kinetic energy so that the effect of intermolecular forces is small (or zero for an ideal gas), and the typical distance between neighboring molecules is much greater than the molecular size. A gas has no definite shape or volume, but occupies the entire container in which it is confined. A liquid may be converted to a gas by heating at constant pressure to the boiling point, or else by reducing the pressure at constant temperature.

At temperatures below its critical temperature, a gas is also called a vapor, and can be liquefied by compression alone without cooling. A vapor can exist in equilibrium with a liquid (or solid), in which case the gas pressure equals the vapor pressure of the liquid (or solid).

A supercritical fluid (SCF) is a gas whose temperature and pressure are above the critical temperature and critical pressure respectively. In this state, the distinction between liquid and gas disappears. A supercritical fluid has the physical properties of a gas, but its high density confers solvent properties in some cases, which leads to useful applications. For example, supercritical carbon dioxide is used to extract caffeine in the manufacture of decaffeinated coffee.

Plasma

In a plasma, electrons are ripped away from their nuclei, forming an electron "sea". This gives it the ability to conduct electricity.
Main article: Plasma (physics)

Like a gas, plasma does not have definite shape or volume. Unlike gases, plasmas are electrically conductive, produce magnetic fields and electric currents, and respond strongly to electromagnetic forces. Positively charged nuclei swim in a "sea" of freely-moving disassociated electrons, similar to the way such charges exist in conductive metal, where this electron "sea" allows matter in the plasma state to conduct electricity.

A gas is usually converted to a plasma in one of two ways, e.g., either from a huge voltage difference between two points, or by exposing it to extremely high temperatures. Heating matter to high temperatures causes electrons to leave the atoms, resulting in the presence of free electrons. This creates a so-called partially ionised plasma. At very high temperatures, such as those present in stars, it is assumed that essentially all electrons are "free", and that a very high-energy plasma is essentially bare nuclei swimming in a sea of electrons. This forms the so-called fully ionised plasma.

The plasma state is often misunderstood, and although not freely existing under normal conditions on Earth, it is quite commonly generated by either lightning, electric sparks, fluorescent lights, neon lights or in plasma televisions. The Sun's corona, some types of flame, and stars are all examples of illuminated matter in the plasma state.

Main article: Phase transitions
This diagram illustrates transitions between the four fundamental states of matter.

A state of matter is also characterized by phase transitions. A phase transition indicates a change in structure and can be recognized by an abrupt change in properties. A distinct state of matter can be defined as any set of states distinguished from any other set of states by a phase transition. Water can be said to have several distinct solid states. The appearance of superconductivity is associated with a phase transition, so there are superconductive states. Likewise, ferromagnetic states are demarcated by phase transitions and have distinctive properties. When the change of state occurs in stages the intermediate steps are called mesophases. Such phases have been exploited by the introduction of liquid crystal technology.

The state or phase of a given set of matter can change depending on pressure and temperature conditions, transitioning to other phases as these conditions change to favor their existence; for example, solid transitions to liquid with an increase in temperature. Near absolute zero, a substance exists as a solid. As heat is added to this substance it melts into a liquid at its melting point, boils into a gas at its boiling point, and if heated high enough would enter a plasma state in which the electrons are so energized that they leave their parent atoms.

Forms of matter that are not composed of molecules and are organized by different forces can also be considered different states of matter. Superfluids (like Fermionic condensate) and the quark–gluon plasma are examples.

In a chemical equation, the state of matter of the chemicals may be shown as (s) for solid, (l) for liquid, and (g) for gas. An aqueous solution is denoted (aq). Matter in the plasma state is seldom used (if at all) in chemical equations, so there is no standard symbol to denote it. In the rare equations that plasma is used it is symbolized as (p).

Glass

Main article: Glass
Schematic representation of a random-network glassy form (left) and ordered crystalline lattice (right) of identical chemical composition.

Glass is a non-crystalline or amorphous solid material that exhibits a glass transition when heated towards the liquid state. Glasses can be made of quite different classes of materials: inorganic networks (such as window glass, made of silicate plus additives), metallic alloys, ionic melts, aqueous solutions, molecular liquids, and polymers. Thermodynamically, a glass is in a metastable state with respect to its crystalline counterpart. The conversion rate, however, is practically zero.

Crystals with some degree of disorder

A plastic crystal is a molecular solid with long-range positional order but with constituent molecules retaining rotational freedom; in an orientational glass this degree of freedom is frozen in a quenched disordered state.

Similarly, in a spin glass magnetic disorder is frozen.

Liquid crystal states

Main article: Liquid crystal

Liquid crystal states have properties intermediate between mobile liquids and ordered solids. Generally, they are able to flow like a liquid, but exhibiting long-range order. For example, the nematic phase consists of long rod-like molecules such as para-azoxyanisole, which is nematic in the temperature range 118–136 °C (244–277 °F). In this state the molecules flow as in a liquid, but they all point in the same direction (within each domain) and cannot rotate freely. Like a crystalline solid, but unlike a liquid, liquid crystals react to polarized light.

Other types of liquid crystals are described in the main article on these states. Several types have technological importance, for example, in liquid crystal displays.

Magnetically ordered

Transition metal atoms often have magnetic moments due to the net spin of electrons that remain unpaired and do not form chemical bonds. In some solids the magnetic moments on different atoms are ordered and can form a ferromagnet, an antiferromagnet or a ferrimagnet.

In a ferromagnet—for instance, solid iron—the magnetic moment on each atom is aligned in the same direction (within a magnetic domain). If the domains are also aligned, the solid is a permanent magnet, which is magnetic even in the absence of an external magnetic field. The magnetization disappears when the magnet is heated to the Curie point, which for iron is 768 °C (1,414 °F).

An antiferromagnet has two networks of equal and opposite magnetic moments, which cancel each other out so that the net magnetization is zero. For example, in nickel(II) oxide (NiO), half the nickel atoms have moments aligned in one direction and half in the opposite direction.

In a ferrimagnet, the two networks of magnetic moments are opposite but unequal, so that cancellation is incomplete and there is a non-zero net magnetization. An example is magnetite (Fe3O4), which contains Fe2+ and Fe3+ ions with different magnetic moments.

A quantum spin liquid (QSL) is a disordered state in a system of interacting quantum spins which preserves its disorder to very low temperatures, unlike other disordered states. It is not a liquid in physical sense, but a solid whose magnetic order is inherently disordered. The name "liquid" is due to an analogy with the molecular disorder in a conventional liquid. A QSL is neither a ferromagnet, where magnetic domains are parallel, nor an antiferromagnet, where the magnetic domains are antiparallel; instead, the magnetic domains are randomly oriented. This can be realized e.g. by geometrically frustrated magnetic moments that cannot point uniformly parallel or antiparallel. When cooling down and settling to a state, the domain must "choose" an orientation, but if the possible states are similar in energy, one will be chosen randomly. Consequently, despite strong short-range order, there is no long-range magnetic order.

Microphase-separated

Main article: Copolymer
SBS block copolymer in TEM

Copolymers can undergo microphase separation to form a diverse array of periodic nanostructures, as shown in the example of the styrene-butadiene-styrene block copolymer shown at right. Microphase separation can be understood by analogy to the phase separation between oil and water. Due to chemical incompatibility between the blocks, block copolymers undergo a similar phase separation. However, because the blocks are covalently bonded to each other, they cannot demix macroscopically as water and oil can, and so instead the blocks form nanometre-sized structures. Depending on the relative lengths of each block and the overall block topology of the polymer, many morphologies can be obtained, each its own phase of matter.

Ionic liquids also display microphase separation. The anion and cation are not necessarily compatible and would demix otherwise, but electric charge attraction prevents them from separating. Their anions and cations appear to diffuse within compartmentalized layers or micelles instead of freely as in a uniform liquid.

Superconductor

Main article: Superconductivity

Superconductors are materials which have zero electrical resistivity, and therefore perfect conductivity. This is a distinct physical state which exists at low temperature, and the resistivity increases discontinuously to a finite value at a sharply-defined transition temperature for each superconductor.

A superconductor also excludes all magnetic fields from its interior, a phenomenon known as the Meissner effect or perfect diamagnetism. Superconducting magnets are used as electromagnets in magnetic resonance imaging machines.

The phenomenon of superconductivity was discovered in 1911, and for 75 years was only known in some metals and metallic alloys at temperatures below 30 K. In 1986 so-called high-temperature superconductivity was discovered in certain ceramic oxides, and has now been observed in temperatures as high as 164 K.

Superfluid

Liquid helium in a superfluid phase creeps up on the walls of the cup in a Rollin film, eventually dripping out from the cup.
Main article: Superfluid

Close to absolute zero, some liquids form a second liquid state described as superfluid because it has zero viscosity (or infinite fluidity; i.e., flowing without friction). This was discovered in 1937 for helium, which forms a superfluid below the lambda temperature of 2.17 K (−270.98 °C; −455.76 °F). In this state it will attempt to "climb" out of its container. It also has infinite thermal conductivity so that no temperature gradient can form in a superfluid. Placing a superfluid in a spinning container will result in quantized vortices.

These properties are explained by the theory that the common isotope helium-4 forms a Bose–Einstein condensate (see next section) in the superfluid state. More recently, Fermionic condensate superfluids have been formed at even lower temperatures by the rare isotope helium-3 and by lithium-6.

Bose–Einstein condensate

Velocity in a gas of rubidium as it is cooled: the starting material is on the left, and Bose–Einstein condensate is on the right.

In 1924, Albert Einstein and Satyendra Nath Bose predicted the "Bose–Einstein condensate" (BEC), sometimes referred to as the fifth state of matter. In a BEC, matter stops behaving as independent particles, and collapses into a single quantum state that can be described with a single, uniform wavefunction.

In the gas phase, the Bose–Einstein condensate remained an unverified theoretical prediction for many years. In 1995, the research groups of Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman, of JILA at the University of Colorado at Boulder, produced the first such condensate experimentally. A Bose–Einstein condensate is "colder" than a solid. It may occur when atoms have very similar (or the same) quantum levels, at temperatures very close to absolute zero, −273.15 °C (−459.67 °F).

Fermionic condensate

Main article: Fermionic condensate

A fermionic condensate is similar to the Bose–Einstein condensate but composed of fermions. The Pauli exclusion principle prevents fermions from entering the same quantum state, but a pair of fermions can behave as a boson, and multiple such pairs can then enter the same quantum state without restriction.

Rydberg molecule

One of the metastable states of strongly non-ideal plasma are condensates of excited atoms, called Rydberg matter. These atoms can also turn into ions and electrons if they reach a certain temperature. In April 2009, Nature reported the creation of Rydberg molecules from a Rydberg atom and a ground state atom, confirming that such a state of matter could exist. The experiment was performed using ultracold rubidium atoms.

Quantum Hall state

Main article: Quantum Hall effect

A quantum Hall state gives rise to quantized Hall voltage measured in the direction perpendicular to the current flow. A quantum spin Hall state is a theoretical phase that may pave the way for the development of electronic devices that dissipate less energy and generate less heat. This is a derivation of the Quantum Hall state of matter.

Photonic matter

Main article: Photonic matter

Photonic matter is a phenomenon where photons interacting with a gas develop apparent mass, and can interact with each other, even forming photonic "molecules". The source of mass is the gas, which is massive. This is in contrast to photons moving in empty space, which have no rest mass, and cannot interact.

Dropleton

Main article: Dropleton

A "quantum fog" of electrons and holes that flow around each other and even ripple like a liquid, rather than existing as discrete pairs.

Degenerate matter

Main article: Degenerate matter

Under extremely high pressure, as in the cores of dead stars, ordinary matter undergoes a transition to a series of exotic states of matter collectively known as degenerate matter, which are supported mainly by quantum mechanical effects. In physics, "degenerate" refers to two states that have the same energy and are thus interchangeable. Degenerate matter is supported by the Pauli exclusion principle, which prevents two fermionic particles from occupying the same quantum state. Unlike regular plasma, degenerate plasma expands little when heated, because there are simply no momentum states left. Consequently, degenerate stars collapse into very high densities. More massive degenerate stars are smaller, because the gravitational force increases, but pressure does not increase proportionally.

Electron-degenerate matter is found inside white dwarf stars. Electrons remain bound to atoms but are able to transfer to adjacent atoms. Neutron-degenerate matter is found in neutron stars. Vast gravitational pressure compresses atoms so strongly that the electrons are forced to combine with protons via inverse beta-decay, resulting in a superdense conglomeration of neutrons. Normally free neutrons outside an atomic nucleus will decay with a half life of approximately 10 minutes, but in a neutron star, the decay is overtaken by inverse decay. Cold degenerate matter is also present in planets such as Jupiter and in the even more massive brown dwarfs, which are expected to have a core with metallic hydrogen. Because of the degeneracy, more massive brown dwarfs are not significantly larger. In metals, the electrons can be modeled as a degenerate gas moving in a lattice of non-degenerate positive ions.

Quark matter

Main article: QCD matter

In regular cold matter, quarks, fundamental particles of nuclear matter, are confined by the strong force into hadrons that consist of 2–4 quarks, such as protons and neutrons. Quark matter or quantum chromodynamical (QCD) matter is a group of phases where the strong force is overcome and quarks are deconfined and free to move. Quark matter phases occur at extremely high densities or temperatures, and there are no known ways to produce them in equilibrium in the laboratory; in ordinary conditions, any quark matter formed immediately undergoes radioactive decay.

Strange matter is a type of quark matter that is suspected to exist inside some neutron stars close to the Tolman–Oppenheimer–Volkoff limit (approximately 2–3 solar masses), although there is no direct evidence of its existence. In strange matter, part of the energy available manifests as strange quarks, a heavier analogue of the common down quark. It may be stable at lower energy states once formed, although this is not known.

Quark–gluon plasma is a very high-temperature phase in which quarks become free and able to move independently, rather than being perpetually bound into particles, in a sea of gluons, subatomic particles that transmit the strong force that binds quarks together. This is analogous to the liberation of electrons from atoms in a plasma. This state is briefly attainable in extremely high-energy heavy ion collisions in particle accelerators, and allows scientists to observe the properties of individual quarks, and not just theorize. Quark–gluon plasma was discovered at CERN in 2000. Unlike plasma, which flows like a gas, interactions within QGP are strong and it flows like a liquid.

At high densities but relatively low temperatures, quarks are theorized to form a quark liquid whose nature is presently unknown. It forms a distinct color-flavor locked (CFL) phase at even higher densities. This phase is superconductive for color charge. These phases may occur in neutron stars but they are presently theoretical.

Color-glass condensate

Color-glass condensate is a type of matter theorized to exist in atomic nuclei traveling near the speed of light. According to Einstein's theory of relativity, a high-energy nucleus appears length contracted, or compressed, along its direction of motion. As a result, the gluons inside the nucleus appear to a stationary observer as a "gluonic wall" traveling near the speed of light. At very high energies, the density of the gluons in this wall is seen to increase greatly. Unlike the quark–gluon plasma produced in the collision of such walls, the color-glass condensate describes the walls themselves, and is an intrinsic property of the particles that can only be observed under high-energy conditions such as those at RHIC and possibly at the Large Hadron Collider as well.

Various theories predict new states of matter at very high energies. An unknown state has created the baryon asymmetry in the universe, but little is known about it. In string theory, a Hagedorn temperature is predicted for superstrings at about 1030 K, where superstrings are copiously produced. At Planck temperature (1032 K), gravity becomes a significant force between individual particles. No current theory can describe these states and they cannot be produced with any foreseeable experiment. However, these states are important in cosmology because the universe may have passed through these states in the Big Bang.

The gravitational singularity predicted by general relativity to exist at the center of a black hole is not a phase of matter; it is not a material object at all (although the mass-energy of matter contributed to its creation) but rather a property of spacetime. Because spacetime breaks down there, the singularity should not be thought of as a localized structure, but as a global, topological feature of spacetime. It has been argued that elementary particles are fundamentally not material, either, but are localized properties of spacetime. In quantum gravity, singularities may in fact mark transitions to a new phase of matter.

Supersolid

Main article: Supersolid

A supersolid is a spatially ordered material (that is, a solid or crystal) with superfluid properties. Similar to a superfluid, a supersolid is able to move without friction but retains a rigid shape. Although a supersolid is a solid, it exhibits so many characteristic properties different from other solids that many argue it is another state of matter.

String-net liquid

Main article: String-net liquid

In a string-net liquid, atoms have apparently unstable arrangement, like a liquid, but are still consistent in overall pattern, like a solid. When in a normal solid state, the atoms of matter align themselves in a grid pattern, so that the spin of any electron is the opposite of the spin of all electrons touching it. But in a string-net liquid, atoms are arranged in some pattern that requires some electrons to have neighbors with the same spin. This gives rise to curious properties, as well as supporting some unusual proposals about the fundamental conditions of the universe itself.

Superglass

Main article: Superglass

A superglass is a phase of matter characterized, at the same time, by superfluidity and a frozen amorphous structure.

Although multiple attempts have been made to create a unified account, ultimately the definitions of what states of matter exist and the point at which states change are arbitrary. Some authors have suggested that states of matter are better thought of as a spectrum between a solid and plasma instead of being rigidly defined.

Ice cubes melting showing a change in state
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State of matter
State of matter Language Watch Edit Not to be confused with Phase matter In physics a state of matter is one of the distinct forms in which matter can exist Four states of matter are observable in everyday life solid liquid gas and plasma Many intermediate states are known to exist such as liquid crystal and some states only exist under extreme conditions such as Bose Einstein condensates neutron degenerate matter and quark gluon plasma which only occur respectively in situations of extreme cold extreme density and extremely high energy For a complete list of all exotic states of matter see the list of states of matter The four common states of matter Clockwise from top left they are solid liquid plasma and gas represented by an ice sculpture a drop of water electrical arcing from a tesla coil and the air around clouds respectively Historically the distinction is made based on qualitative differences in properties Matter in the solid state maintains a fixed volume and shape with component particles atoms molecules or ions close together and fixed into place Matter in the liquid state maintains a fixed volume but has a variable shape that adapts to fit its container Its particles are still close together but move freely Matter in the gaseous state has both variable volume and shape adapting both to fit its container Its particles are neither close together nor fixed in place Matter in the plasma state has variable volume and shape and contains neutral atoms as well as a significant number of ions and electrons both of which can move around freely The term phase is sometimes used as a synonym for state of matter but a system can contain several immiscible phases of the same state of matter Contents 1 Four fundamental states 1 1 Solid 1 2 Liquid 1 3 Gas 1 4 Plasma 2 Phase transitions 3 Non classical states 3 1 Glass 3 2 Crystals with some degree of disorder 3 3 Liquid crystal states 3 4 Magnetically ordered 3 5 Microphase separated 4 Low temperature states 4 1 Superconductor 4 2 Superfluid 4 3 Bose Einstein condensate 4 4 Fermionic condensate 4 5 Rydberg molecule 4 6 Quantum Hall state 4 7 Photonic matter 4 8 Dropleton 5 High energy states 5 1 Degenerate matter 5 2 Quark matter 5 3 Color glass condensate 6 Very high energy states 7 Other proposed states 7 1 Supersolid 7 2 String net liquid 7 3 Superglass 8 Arbitrary definition 9 See also 10 Notes and references 11 External linksFour fundamental statesSolid A crystalline solid atomic resolution image of strontium titanate Brighter atoms are strontium and darker ones are titanium Main article Solid In a solid constituent particles ions atoms or molecules are closely packed together The forces between particles are so strong that the particles cannot move freely but can only vibrate As a result a solid has a stable definite shape and a definite volume Solids can only change their shape by an outside force as when broken or cut In crystalline solids the particles atoms molecules or ions are packed in a regularly ordered repeating pattern There are various different crystal structures and the same substance can have more than one structure or solid phase For example iron has a body centred cubic structure at temperatures below 912 C 1 674 F and a face centred cubic structure between 912 and 1 394 C 2 541 F Ice has fifteen known crystal structures or fifteen solid phases which exist at various temperatures and pressures 1 Glasses and other non crystalline amorphous solids without long range order are not thermal equilibrium ground states therefore they are described below as nonclassical states of matter Solids can be transformed into liquids by melting and liquids can be transformed into solids by freezing Solids can also change directly into gases through the process of sublimation and gases can likewise change directly into solids through deposition Liquid Structure of a classical monatomic liquid Atoms have many nearest neighbors in contact yet no long range order is present Main article Liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid that conforms to the shape of its container but retains a nearly constant volume independent of pressure The volume is definite if the temperature and pressure are constant When a solid is heated above its melting point it becomes liquid given that the pressure is higher than the triple point of the substance Intermolecular or interatomic or interionic forces are still important but the molecules have enough energy to move relative to each other and the structure is mobile This means that the shape of a liquid is not definite but is determined by its container The volume is usually greater than that of the corresponding solid the best known exception being water H2O The highest temperature at which a given liquid can exist is its critical temperature 2 Gas The spaces between gas molecules are very big Gas molecules have very weak or no bonds at all The molecules in gas can move freely and fast Main article Gas A gas is a compressible fluid Not only will a gas conform to the shape of its container but it will also expand to fill the container In a gas the molecules have enough kinetic energy so that the effect of intermolecular forces is small or zero for an ideal gas and the typical distance between neighboring molecules is much greater than the molecular size A gas has no definite shape or volume but occupies the entire container in which it is confined A liquid may be converted to a gas by heating at constant pressure to the boiling point or else by reducing the pressure at constant temperature At temperatures below its critical temperature a gas is also called a vapor and can be liquefied by compression alone without cooling A vapor can exist in equilibrium with a liquid or solid in which case the gas pressure equals the vapor pressure of the liquid or solid A supercritical fluid SCF is a gas whose temperature and pressure are above the critical temperature and critical pressure respectively In this state the distinction between liquid and gas disappears A supercritical fluid has the physical properties of a gas but its high density confers solvent properties in some cases which leads to useful applications For example supercritical carbon dioxide is used to extract caffeine in the manufacture of decaffeinated coffee 3 Plasma In a plasma electrons are ripped away from their nuclei forming an electron sea This gives it the ability to conduct electricity Main article Plasma physics Like a gas plasma does not have definite shape or volume Unlike gases plasmas are electrically conductive produce magnetic fields and electric currents and respond strongly to electromagnetic forces Positively charged nuclei swim in a sea of freely moving disassociated electrons similar to the way such charges exist in conductive metal where this electron sea allows matter in the plasma state to conduct electricity A gas is usually converted to a plasma in one of two ways e g either from a huge voltage difference between two points or by exposing it to extremely high temperatures Heating matter to high temperatures causes electrons to leave the atoms resulting in the presence of free electrons This creates a so called partially ionised plasma At very high temperatures such as those present in stars it is assumed that essentially all electrons are free and that a very high energy plasma is essentially bare nuclei swimming in a sea of electrons This forms the so called fully ionised plasma The plasma state is often misunderstood and although not freely existing under normal conditions on Earth it is quite commonly generated by either lightning electric sparks fluorescent lights neon lights or in plasma televisions The Sun s corona some types of flame and stars are all examples of illuminated matter in the plasma state Phase transitionsMain article Phase transitions This diagram illustrates transitions between the four fundamental states of matter A state of matter is also characterized by phase transitions A phase transition indicates a change in structure and can be recognized by an abrupt change in properties A distinct state of matter can be defined as any set of states distinguished from any other set of states by a phase transition Water can be said to have several distinct solid states 4 The appearance of superconductivity is associated with a phase transition so there are superconductive states Likewise ferromagnetic states are demarcated by phase transitions and have distinctive properties When the change of state occurs in stages the intermediate steps are called mesophases Such phases have been exploited by the introduction of liquid crystal technology 5 6 The state or phase of a given set of matter can change depending on pressure and temperature conditions transitioning to other phases as these conditions change to favor their existence for example solid transitions to liquid with an increase in temperature Near absolute zero a substance exists as a solid As heat is added to this substance it melts into a liquid at its melting point boils into a gas at its boiling point and if heated high enough would enter a plasma state in which the electrons are so energized that they leave their parent atoms Forms of matter that are not composed of molecules and are organized by different forces can also be considered different states of matter Superfluids like Fermionic condensate and the quark gluon plasma are examples In a chemical equation the state of matter of the chemicals may be shown as s for solid l for liquid and g for gas An aqueous solution is denoted aq Matter in the plasma state is seldom used if at all in chemical equations so there is no standard symbol to denote it In the rare equations that plasma is used it is symbolized as p Non classical statesGlass Main article Glass Schematic representation of a random network glassy form left and ordered crystalline lattice right of identical chemical composition Glass is a non crystalline or amorphous solid material that exhibits a glass transition when heated towards the liquid state Glasses can be made of quite different classes of materials inorganic networks such as window glass made of silicate plus additives metallic alloys ionic melts aqueous solutions molecular liquids and polymers Thermodynamically a glass is in a metastable state with respect to its crystalline counterpart The conversion rate however is practically zero Crystals with some degree of disorder A plastic crystal is a molecular solid with long range positional order but with constituent molecules retaining rotational freedom in an orientational glass this degree of freedom is frozen in a quenched disordered state Similarly in a spin glass magnetic disorder is frozen Liquid crystal states Main article Liquid crystal Liquid crystal states have properties intermediate between mobile liquids and ordered solids Generally they are able to flow like a liquid but exhibiting long range order For example the nematic phase consists of long rod like molecules such as para azoxyanisole which is nematic in the temperature range 118 136 C 244 277 F 7 In this state the molecules flow as in a liquid but they all point in the same direction within each domain and cannot rotate freely Like a crystalline solid but unlike a liquid liquid crystals react to polarized light Other types of liquid crystals are described in the main article on these states Several types have technological importance for example in liquid crystal displays Magnetically ordered Transition metal atoms often have magnetic moments due to the net spin of electrons that remain unpaired and do not form chemical bonds In some solids the magnetic moments on different atoms are ordered and can form a ferromagnet an antiferromagnet or a ferrimagnet In a ferromagnet for instance solid iron the magnetic moment on each atom is aligned in the same direction within a magnetic domain If the domains are also aligned the solid is a permanent magnet which is magnetic even in the absence of an external magnetic field The magnetization disappears when the magnet is heated to the Curie point which for iron is 768 C 1 414 F An antiferromagnet has two networks of equal and opposite magnetic moments which cancel each other out so that the net magnetization is zero For example in nickel II oxide NiO half the nickel atoms have moments aligned in one direction and half in the opposite direction In a ferrimagnet the two networks of magnetic moments are opposite but unequal so that cancellation is incomplete and there is a non zero net magnetization An example is magnetite Fe3O4 which contains Fe2 and Fe3 ions with different magnetic moments A quantum spin liquid QSL is a disordered state in a system of interacting quantum spins which preserves its disorder to very low temperatures unlike other disordered states It is not a liquid in physical sense but a solid whose magnetic order is inherently disordered The name liquid is due to an analogy with the molecular disorder in a conventional liquid A QSL is neither a ferromagnet where magnetic domains are parallel nor an antiferromagnet where the magnetic domains are antiparallel instead the magnetic domains are randomly oriented This can be realized e g by geometrically frustrated magnetic moments that cannot point uniformly parallel or antiparallel When cooling down and settling to a state the domain must choose an orientation but if the possible states are similar in energy one will be chosen randomly Consequently despite strong short range order there is no long range magnetic order Microphase separated Main article Copolymer SBS block copolymer in TEM Copolymers can undergo microphase separation to form a diverse array of periodic nanostructures as shown in the example of the styrene butadiene styrene block copolymer shown at right Microphase separation can be understood by analogy to the phase separation between oil and water Due to chemical incompatibility between the blocks block copolymers undergo a similar phase separation However because the blocks are covalently bonded to each other they cannot demix macroscopically as water and oil can and so instead the blocks form nanometre sized structures Depending on the relative lengths of each block and the overall block topology of the polymer many morphologies can be obtained each its own phase of matter Ionic liquids also display microphase separation The anion and cation are not necessarily compatible and would demix otherwise but electric charge attraction prevents them from separating Their anions and cations appear to diffuse within compartmentalized layers or micelles instead of freely as in a uniform liquid 8 Low temperature statesSuperconductor Main article Superconductivity Superconductors are materials which have zero electrical resistivity and therefore perfect conductivity This is a distinct physical state which exists at low temperature and the resistivity increases discontinuously to a finite value at a sharply defined transition temperature for each superconductor 9 A superconductor also excludes all magnetic fields from its interior a phenomenon known as the Meissner effect or perfect diamagnetism 9 Superconducting magnets are used as electromagnets in magnetic resonance imaging machines The phenomenon of superconductivity was discovered in 1911 and for 75 years was only known in some metals and metallic alloys at temperatures below 30 K In 1986 so called high temperature superconductivity was discovered in certain ceramic oxides and has now been observed in temperatures as high as 164 K 10 Superfluid Liquid helium in a superfluid phase creeps up on the walls of the cup in a Rollin film eventually dripping out from the cup Main article Superfluid Close to absolute zero some liquids form a second liquid state described as superfluid because it has zero viscosity or infinite fluidity i e flowing without friction This was discovered in 1937 for helium which forms a superfluid below the lambda temperature of 2 17 K 270 98 C 455 76 F In this state it will attempt to climb out of its container 11 It also has infinite thermal conductivity so that no temperature gradient can form in a superfluid Placing a superfluid in a spinning container will result in quantized vortices These properties are explained by the theory that the common isotope helium 4 forms a Bose Einstein condensate see next section in the superfluid state More recently Fermionic condensate superfluids have been formed at even lower temperatures by the rare isotope helium 3 and by lithium 6 12 Bose Einstein condensate Velocity in a gas of rubidium as it is cooled the starting material is on the left and Bose Einstein condensate is on the right Main article Bose Einstein condensate In 1924 Albert Einstein and Satyendra Nath Bose predicted the Bose Einstein condensate BEC sometimes referred to as the fifth state of matter In a BEC matter stops behaving as independent particles and collapses into a single quantum state that can be described with a single uniform wavefunction In the gas phase the Bose Einstein condensate remained an unverified theoretical prediction for many years In 1995 the research groups of Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman of JILA at the University of Colorado at Boulder produced the first such condensate experimentally A Bose Einstein condensate is colder than a solid It may occur when atoms have very similar or the same quantum levels at temperatures very close to absolute zero 273 15 C 459 67 F Fermionic condensate Main article Fermionic condensate A fermionic condensate is similar to the Bose Einstein condensate but composed of fermions The Pauli exclusion principle prevents fermions from entering the same quantum state but a pair of fermions can behave as a boson and multiple such pairs can then enter the same quantum state without restriction Rydberg molecule One of the metastable states of strongly non ideal plasma are condensates of excited atoms called Rydberg matter These atoms can also turn into ions and electrons if they reach a certain temperature In April 2009 Nature reported the creation of Rydberg molecules from a Rydberg atom and a ground state atom 13 confirming that such a state of matter could exist 14 The experiment was performed using ultracold rubidium atoms Quantum Hall state Main article Quantum Hall effect A quantum Hall state gives rise to quantized Hall voltage measured in the direction perpendicular to the current flow A quantum spin Hall state is a theoretical phase that may pave the way for the development of electronic devices that dissipate less energy and generate less heat This is a derivation of the Quantum Hall state of matter Photonic matter Main article Photonic matter Photonic matter is a phenomenon where photons interacting with a gas develop apparent mass and can interact with each other even forming photonic molecules The source of mass is the gas which is massive This is in contrast to photons moving in empty space which have no rest mass and cannot interact Dropleton Main article Dropleton A quantum fog of electrons and holes that flow around each other and even ripple like a liquid rather than existing as discrete pairs 15 High energy statesDegenerate matter Main article Degenerate matter Under extremely high pressure as in the cores of dead stars ordinary matter undergoes a transition to a series of exotic states of matter collectively known as degenerate matter which are supported mainly by quantum mechanical effects In physics degenerate refers to two states that have the same energy and are thus interchangeable Degenerate matter is supported by the Pauli exclusion principle which prevents two fermionic particles from occupying the same quantum state Unlike regular plasma degenerate plasma expands little when heated because there are simply no momentum states left Consequently degenerate stars collapse into very high densities More massive degenerate stars are smaller because the gravitational force increases but pressure does not increase proportionally Electron degenerate matter is found inside white dwarf stars Electrons remain bound to atoms but are able to transfer to adjacent atoms Neutron degenerate matter is found in neutron stars Vast gravitational pressure compresses atoms so strongly that the electrons are forced to combine with protons via inverse beta decay resulting in a superdense conglomeration of neutrons Normally free neutrons outside an atomic nucleus will decay with a half life of approximately 10 minutes but in a neutron star the decay is overtaken by inverse decay Cold degenerate matter is also present in planets such as Jupiter and in the even more massive brown dwarfs which are expected to have a core with metallic hydrogen Because of the degeneracy more massive brown dwarfs are not significantly larger In metals the electrons can be modeled as a degenerate gas moving in a lattice of non degenerate positive ions Quark matter Main article QCD matter In regular cold matter quarks fundamental particles of nuclear matter are confined by the strong force into hadrons that consist of 2 4 quarks such as protons and neutrons Quark matter or quantum chromodynamical QCD matter is a group of phases where the strong force is overcome and quarks are deconfined and free to move Quark matter phases occur at extremely high densities or temperatures and there are no known ways to produce them in equilibrium in the laboratory in ordinary conditions any quark matter formed immediately undergoes radioactive decay Strange matter is a type of quark matter that is suspected to exist inside some neutron stars close to the Tolman Oppenheimer Volkoff limit approximately 2 3 solar masses although there is no direct evidence of its existence In strange matter part of the energy available manifests as strange quarks a heavier analogue of the common down quark It may be stable at lower energy states once formed although this is not known Quark gluon plasma is a very high temperature phase in which quarks become free and able to move independently rather than being perpetually bound into particles in a sea of gluons subatomic particles that transmit the strong force that binds quarks together This is analogous to the liberation of electrons from atoms in a plasma This state is briefly attainable in extremely high energy heavy ion collisions in particle accelerators and allows scientists to observe the properties of individual quarks and not just theorize Quark gluon plasma was discovered at CERN in 2000 Unlike plasma which flows like a gas interactions within QGP are strong and it flows like a liquid At high densities but relatively low temperatures quarks are theorized to form a quark liquid whose nature is presently unknown It forms a distinct color flavor locked CFL phase at even higher densities This phase is superconductive for color charge These phases may occur in neutron stars but they are presently theoretical Color glass condensate Main article Color glass condensate Color glass condensate is a type of matter theorized to exist in atomic nuclei traveling near the speed of light According to Einstein s theory of relativity a high energy nucleus appears length contracted or compressed along its direction of motion As a result the gluons inside the nucleus appear to a stationary observer as a gluonic wall traveling near the speed of light At very high energies the density of the gluons in this wall is seen to increase greatly Unlike the quark gluon plasma produced in the collision of such walls the color glass condensate describes the walls themselves and is an intrinsic property of the particles that can only be observed under high energy conditions such as those at RHIC and possibly at the Large Hadron Collider as well Very high energy statesVarious theories predict new states of matter at very high energies An unknown state has created the baryon asymmetry in the universe but little is known about it In string theory a Hagedorn temperature is predicted for superstrings at about 1030 K where superstrings are copiously produced At Planck temperature 1032 K gravity becomes a significant force between individual particles No current theory can describe these states and they cannot be produced with any foreseeable experiment However these states are important in cosmology because the universe may have passed through these states in the Big Bang The gravitational singularity predicted by general relativity to exist at the center of a black hole is not a phase of matter it is not a material object at all although the mass energy of matter contributed to its creation but rather a property of spacetime Because spacetime breaks down there the singularity should not be thought of as a localized structure but as a global topological feature of spacetime 16 It has been argued that elementary particles are fundamentally not material either but are localized properties of spacetime 17 In quantum gravity singularities may in fact mark transitions to a new phase of matter 18 Other proposed statesSupersolid Main article Supersolid A supersolid is a spatially ordered material that is a solid or crystal with superfluid properties Similar to a superfluid a supersolid is able to move without friction but retains a rigid shape Although a supersolid is a solid it exhibits so many characteristic properties different from other solids that many argue it is another state of matter 19 String net liquid Main article String net liquid In a string net liquid atoms have apparently unstable arrangement like a liquid but are still consistent in overall pattern like a solid When in a normal solid state the atoms of matter align themselves in a grid pattern so that the spin of any electron is the opposite of the spin of all electrons touching it But in a string net liquid atoms are arranged in some pattern that requires some electrons to have neighbors with the same spin This gives rise to curious properties as well as supporting some unusual proposals about the fundamental conditions of the universe itself Superglass Main article Superglass A superglass is a phase of matter characterized at the same time by superfluidity and a frozen amorphous structure Arbitrary definitionAlthough multiple attempts have been made to create a unified account ultimately the definitions of what states of matter exist and the point at which states change are arbitrary 20 21 22 Some authors have suggested that states of matter are better thought of as a spectrum between a solid and plasma instead of being rigidly defined 23 See alsoHidden states of matter Classical element Condensed matter physics Cooling curve Phase matter Supercooling Superheating Play media Ice cubes melting showing a change in state Phase transitions of matter vte ToFrom Solid Liquid Gas PlasmaSolid Melting SublimationLiquid Freezing VaporizationGas Deposition Condensation IonizationPlasma RecombinationNotes and references M A Wahab 2005 Solid State Physics Structure and Properties of Materials Alpha Science pp 1 3 ISBN 978 1 84265 218 3 F White 2003 Fluid Mechanics McGraw Hill p 4 ISBN 978 0 07 240217 9 G Turrell 1997 Gas Dynamics Theory and Applications John Wiley amp Sons pp 3 5 ISBN 978 0 471 97573 1 M Chaplin 20 August 2009 Water phase Diagram Water Structure and Science Archived from the original on 3 March 2016 Retrieved 23 February 2010 D L Goodstein 1985 States of Matter Dover Phoenix ISBN 978 0 486 49506 4 A P Sutton 1993 Electronic Structure of Materials Oxford Science Publications pp 10 12 ISBN 978 0 19 851754 2 Shao Y Zerda T W 1998 Phase Transitions of Liquid Crystal PAA in Confined Geometries Journal of Physical Chemistry B 102 18 3387 3394 doi 10 1021 jp9734437 Alvarez V H Dosil N Gonzalez Cabaleiro R Mattedi S Martin Pastor M Iglesias M amp Navaza J M Bronsted Ionic Liquids for Sustainable Processes Synthesis and Physical Properties Journal of Chemical amp Engineering Data 55 2010 Nr 2 S 625 632 doi 10 1021 je900550v 10 1021 je900550v a b White Mary Anne 1999 Properties of Materials Oxford University Press pp 254 8 ISBN 0 19 511331 4 M Tinkham 2004 Introduction to Superconductivity Courier Dover pp 17 23 ISBN 0486435032 J R Minkel 20 February 2009 Strange but True Superfluid Helium Can Climb Walls Scientific American Archived from the original on 19 March 2011 Retrieved 23 February 2010 L Valigra 22 June 2005 MIT physicists create new form of matter MIT News Archived from the original on 11 December 2013 Retrieved 23 February 2010 V Bendkowsky et al 2009 Observation of Ultralong Range Rydberg Molecules Nature 458 7241 1005 1008 Bibcode 2009Natur 458 1005B doi 10 1038 nature07945 PMID 19396141 S2CID 4332553 V Gill 23 April 2009 World First for Strange Molecule BBC News Archived from the original on 1 July 2009 Retrieved 23 February 2010 Luntz Stephen 3 January 2014 New State of Matter Discovered IFLScience Archived from the original on 16 April 2017 Retrieved 16 April 2017 Lam Vincent 2008 Chapter 6 Structural Aspects of Space Time Singularities In Dieks Dennis ed The Ontology of Spacetime II Elsevier pp 111 131 ISBN 978 0 444 53275 6 David Chalmers David Manley Ryan Wasserman 2009 Metametaphysics New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology Oxford University Press pp 378 ISBN 978 0 19 954604 6 Archived from the original on 17 September 2014 Oriti Daniele 2011 On the depth of quantum space arXiv 1107 4534 physics pop ph G Murthy et al 1997 Superfluids and Supersolids on Frustrated Two Dimensional Lattices Physical Review B 55 5 3104 arXiv cond mat 9607217 Bibcode 1997PhRvB 55 3104M doi 10 1103 PhysRevB 55 3104 S2CID 119498444 F Duncan M Haldane et al 1991 Fractional statistics in Arbitrary Dimensions A Generalization of the Pauli Principle PDF Physical Review Letters 67 8 948 Bibcode 1991PhRvL 67 937H doi 10 1103 PhysRevLett 67 937 M Sanchez Barquilla R E F Silva and J Feist1 et al 2020 Cumulant expansion for the treatment of light matter interactions in arbitrary material structures The Journal of Chemical Physics 2 3 2 arXiv 1911 07037 doi 10 1063 1 5138937 CS1 maint uses authors parameter link Castleman A W Keesee R G 1988 Gas Phase Clusters Spanning the States of Matter Science 241 4861 36 42 Bibcode 1988Sci 241 36C doi 10 1126 science 241 4861 36 ISSN 0036 8075 JSTOR 1701318 PMID 17815538 https www researchgate net profile Shota Nunomura 2 publication 7950706 Wave Spectra in Solid and Liquid Complex Dusty Plasmas links 545cd5810cf27487b44d40ec Wave Spectra in Solid and Liquid Complex Dusty Plasmas pdfExternal linksWikimedia Commons has media related to States of aggregation 2005 06 22 MIT News MIT physicists create new form of matter Citat They have become the first to create a new type of matter a gas of atoms that shows high temperature superfluidity 2003 10 10 Science Daily Metallic Phase For Bosons Implies New State Of Matter 2004 01 15 ScienceDaily Probable Discovery Of A New Supersolid Phase Of Matter Citat We apparently have observed for the first time a solid material with the characteristics of a superfluid but because all its particles are in the identical quantum state it remains a solid even though its component particles are continually flowing 2004 01 29 ScienceDaily NIST University Of Colorado Scientists Create New Form Of Matter A Fermionic Condensate Short videos demonstrating of States of Matter solids liquids and gases by Prof J M Murrell University of Sussex Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title State of matter amp oldid 1053680880, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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