Transport Properties of Quodons in Muscovite and Prediction of Hyper-Conductivity

  • F. Michael RussellEmail author
Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)


The study of intrinsic localised modes in layered crystals has been advanced by the discovery that crystals of muscovite mica can naturally record small perturbations to the lattice after the crystal has grown but is still at high temperature. This led to the discovery of two types of nonlinear lattice excitations created by energetic atomic collisions that propagate great distances in flat sheets of atoms of potassium sandwiched between mirror silicate layers. One type, called a quodon, is stable and propagates along atomic chains without lateral spreading. The second type spreads laterally in the sheet about chain directions. It has recently been shown that quodons can trap and carry a positive charge at temperatures up to at least \(500\,^\circ \)C. As the charge is transported in absence of an applied electric field it has infinite charge mobility. This leads to the prediction of lossless transmission of electricity at elevated temperatures, called hyper-conductivity. Here, studies are reported that show quodons can couple to holes and electrons. The strength of the coupling depends on the chemical composition of the crystals. Electrons are strongly coupled to quodons in calcium-rich crystals of muscovite, sometimes called brittle-mica. In crystals with negligible Ca only holes are bound strongly. This indicates that the transport properties of muscovite can be modified by local doping. Lastly, a third type of track recording process has been found in which a gas decorates the paths of energetic mobile lattice excitations. The most probable source of the gas is argon from the decay of \(^{40}\)K.


Quodon Muscovite mica Charge mobility Hyper-conductivity 



It is a pleasure to acknowledge the unstinting support, collaboration and guidance over many years given by J.C. Eilbeck who was able to link theory with experiment. More recently I wish to thank J.F.R. Archilla for his encouragement, collaboration and discussions on several aspects of the properties of muscovite. It is with both apprehension and anticipation that I await the result of his test of the prediction of infinite charge mobility. I also wish to acknowledge the University of Sevilla for nominating me as research collaborator in 2016. Part of this work was supported by a grant from Turbon Int. Ltd. Many people have assisted me at various stages and, in particular, I wish to acknowledge the support and guidance provided by R. Witty who enabled a critically important molecular dynamic study of the muscovite unit cell to be done by D.R. Collins.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Group of Nonlinear Physics, Department of Applied Physics IUniversidad de Sevilla, ETSIISevillaSpain

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