Denom Particle (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci & Tech)

News-CRUX-10     23rd August 2023        

Context: Researchers at the University of Illinois recently discovered a demon particle that could lead to the making of superconductors that can operate at room temperature. This massless particle termed the holy grail of superconductors, was discovered nearly 70 years after ‘demons’ were first predicted.

About Demon Particle

  • The theoretical physicist David Pines, in 1956, made the initial prediction of the demon particle.
  • Pines' hypothesis suggested that distinct behaviors would be displayed by electrons moving through a solid, potentially resulting in the creation of a novel particle termed the "demon particle."
  • These particles possess no mass, carry no charge, and are transparent to light.
  • They have the capability to come together to form plasmons, which are collective electron entities exhibiting wave-like characteristics.
  • Plasmons play a crucial role in superconductivity, and the identification of demon particles might pave the way for the design of new superconducting materials that can function at room temperature.

What is Superconductivity?

  • Definition: Superconductivity is a phenomenon in which an electric charge travels through a substance without experiencing any resistance.
  • Efficient Energy Transfer: The concept suggests that electrical energy can be transmitted between two locations with complete efficiency, without any loss of heat.
  • Discovery: Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes first identified superconductivity in 1911. 
  • He noticed a sudden decrease in the electrical resistance of mercury when it was subjected to extremely low temperatures.
  • Temperature Dependence: It is generally observed at extremely low temperatures, often near absolute zero (0 Kelvin or -273.15°C).
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