Exotic matter is the name given to matter
that has exotic properties, which means that
it has some characteristics that are different
from the usual physical properties of matter.
Most exotic matter is hypothetical, meaning
that its existence is unobserved and unproved, but
is speculated by theory. A type of
hypothetical exotic matter is a particle with a
negative mass. Because of Einstein’s theory
of the equivalence between mass and energy,
E=mc2 , a particle of negative
mass also has negative energy. A particle
of this nature would behave in the opposite way as
most particles. When people talk about exotic
matter, they are usually referring to this type of
matter with negative mass because this type
of matter is thought to be necessary to keep
wormholes open. A wormhole is a theoretical
passage through space-time that could create
shortcuts for travel across the universe.
Unfortunately, wormholes have never been observed
and are predicted to collapse very quickly. To
stabilize them, it would require exotic matter
that has yet to be discovered. Although popular in
science fiction, using exotic matter to stabilize
a wormhole for humans to travel or send
information long distances is far beyond our
current technological abilities.
Another hypothetical particle is called a
tachyon. This particle has an imaginary
number as its mass and can travel faster than
the speed of light
Dark matter is sometimes considered a
different type of hypothetical exotic matter.
Most scientists accept that dark matter
exists, but it is unobserved because it
does not emit light or electromagnetic radiation
that can be measured. In this case, the term
"exotic matter" is being used in a broader sense
to mean a particle whose properties are not
well-understood. It could be the case that dark
matter is made up of already known and
normal-behaving particles, but we just don't
know yet anything about it.
So far, I have only mentioned hypothetical exotic
matter, but other types of exotic matter have
been observed in reality. One example is what
is called a Bose-Einstein condensate, which
is a state of matter that occurs at extremely low
temperatures near absolute zero. In a
Bose-Einstein condensate, atoms clump together
and behave as if the whole group were a single
atom. This state of matter was predicted in
1924, but was finally created in the lab in 1995.
This achievement won the 2001 Nobel Prize in
2001 Nobel Prize in Physics ). In this case,
the physics of Bose-Einstein condensation is
expected from mainstream physics, but the state of
matter is different from what we encounter under
more ambient conditions, and so it sometimes gets
the term "exotic." For example, the 2016 Nobel
Prize in Physics went to theorists studying the
mathematics of some exotic phases of matter (
2016 Nobel Prize in Physics ).
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