The Demon Particle Is Summoned, Here’s What That Means For Science

By TeeJay Small | Updated

Though it sounds like a plot line ripped straight from the Diablo video game series, scientists have confirmed the existence of a massless demon particle, which is said to support an explanation for the superconductivity of a number of exotic materials. Despite its name, which suggests origins rooted in the biblical days of early civilization, the demon particle was first theorized to exist by David Pines in 1956. This news comes courtesy of a recent write-up in Popular Mechanics, confirming the demon’s existence on Earth.

The existence of the demon particle was only a theory for over 50 years, but now it’s been discovered, and the impact it has on superconductivity can finally be studied.

For now, not much is known about the recently discovered particle, other than its ability to exist within common room temperatures. The demon particle is named for the “distinct electron motion” that the quantum element inhabits, rippling through plasma electrons. The particle has also been nicknamed Pine’s Demon, for the physicist who initially theorized its existence.

The demon particle has long been difficult to confirm for researchers, as it is entirely massless and contains a neutral charge, lacking many of the necessary features to be detected by modern science. A team of scientists from the University of Illinois discovered the particle by accident while analyzing metal strontium ruthenate in an effort to improve understanding of the high-temperature properties of superconductors.

A display of superconductivity

Superconductivity occurs when electrical resistance ceases to utilize force, giving way to magnetic fields which expel from any nearby materials. This means superconductive materials can conduct a direct current without suffering energy loss, even in extreme temperatures. The University of Illinois team discovered the demon particle as it was too slow to behave as a surface plasmon while moving too quickly to be an acoustic phonon, seemingly confirming Pines’ nearly century-old theory.

Researchers were not looking for the demon particle when they discovered it while wondering why a particle was exhibiting strange behavior.

Furthermore, the humorous moniker of the particle has led to a number of intriguing responses from the scientific community, whose unyielding feelings in the face of “demons” seem to define their entire career path. Ali Husain, who co-authored the paper detailing the discovery, even remarked that the discovery was like stumbling onto the existence of an actual demon. Husain’s co-author, Peter Abbamonte, also expressed disbelief at the discovery, explaining the nature of scientific discovery as a series of happy accidents, as most significant discoveries are stumbled upon accidentally.

Due to the demon particle’s massless nature, it is capable of forming with any known energy and functions particularly well in extreme environments, which would render many other particles relatively useless. Like all scientific discoveries, this one leaves researchers with a lot of new questions regarding the specific ins and outs of the particle’s capabilities and origins.

A strange quirk of the demon particle is that it has no mass of its own, this means it works with all forms of existing energy while offering zero resistance.

In this instance, scientists are racking their brains to understand how zero energy resistance can allow superconductors to maintain their electromagnetic fields under extremely high temperatures.

That’s where the demon particle is said to come in, helping scientists to understand how exactly these conductors function, and perhaps even articulating real-world applications for these anomalies within the energy sector. Years from now, science may have determined the ability to create perpetual motion machines that don’t lose momentum as they continue to produce a great deal of energy, and we’ll have our demons to thank for the discovery.

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