What is exotic matter?

From gravity-defying isotopes to superfluids and dark matter, the stuff that makes up our Universe can get pretty weird.

1st May 2018
What is exotic matter? (Getty)

Asked by: Liam Farmer, Birmingham

It’s the generic name physicists give to matter with weird properties. Exactly how weird depends on the area of physics. For example, those working in cryogenics – the study of ultra-cold temperatures – work with so-called superfluids, isotopes of helium whose quantum properties allow them to defy gravity, escaping from containers by creeping up and over the walls.

But the oddest forms of exotic matter are those investigated by cosmologists, such as the true identity of so-called dark matter. This is widely considered to pervade galaxies, and is thought to be some form of exotic particle quite unlike the protons, neutrons and electrons making up standard matter.

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