“The Quest to Crystallize Time” Elizabeth Gibney, Nature, 9 March 2017

Bizarre forms of matter called time crystals were supposed to be physically impossible. Now they’re not”.

Creating time crystal is now possible thanks to Christopher Monroe, a physicist at the University of Maryland. You might be wondering what is this. Crystal time are hypothetical formations that work without requiring any energy. Monroe and his team were working in other purposes when suddenly they make a version of a time crystal, it was a stroke of luck. Nobel prizewinning physicist Frank Wilczek proposed this concept five years ago, and Norman Yao, a physicist at the University of California, affirms: “It is less weird than the first idea, but it is still fricking weird”. We can say that we have a new kind of matter which previously thought impossible. It is great progress in quantum computers and super-sensitive magnetic sensors. Experimentalist dreamt up a quantum version of this matter, for example, a ring of atoms that would rotate endlessly and returning its original form. This entity would work in its lowest energy state without requiring any energy. “From a first glance at the idea, one would say this has to be wrong, almost by definition, a system in its lowest energy state does not vary in time”, says Yao. The Physics community agreed. But Shivaji Sondhi, a theoretical physicist at Princeton University, and his colleagues predicted that a phase of matter that does not exist in equilibrium can be formed repeating a pattern in time. One of the Wilczek’s former students realized that this phase of matter could be a type of time crystal. Monroe heard about that and he got a recipe to form his atoms into a crystal time. This discovery could have a lot of applications, aforementioned two of them. Physicists also will be able to work with nanokelvin temperatures, close to absolute zero. “This particular recipe proves to be just one of many ways to cook up a time crystal.”, says Roderich Moessner, director of the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden, Germany.


“The Quest to Crystallize Time” Elizabeth Gibney, Nature, 9 March 2017


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