“Time Crystals Latest Quantum Weirdness” Richard A. Lovett, COSMOS, 10 March 2017

“Crystals are common to our normal understanding of nature. Time crystals aren’t. In fact, it was only recently that anyone even hypothesized they might exist.”

The first “time crystals” have been created by two teams of American scientists and no, this is no small form of TARDIS as these crystals have no relation to time and space travel. Mikhail Lukin, a physicist at Harvard University, Cambridge says, What’s unique about the crystals is that they have properties that repeat over time in a manner analogous to the way the atoms in crystal lattices repeat over space. Most repeating phenomena can be easily altered if an external force acts on the object. To understand time crystals, we need to start by considering liquids and gases. In these, molecules are uniformly distributed in a way that makes one point in the liquid or gas basically the same as all other points. But in crystals, atoms are arranged in repeating patterns that mean that once you know the position of one atom, you can pinpoint the locations of all the others. Furthermore, crystals are rigid. If you bash on one, you aren’t going to see one atom move one way, while another moves a different way, as would happen if you sloshed a tub of water or let the air out of a balloon. Crystals are common to our normal understanding of nature. Time crystals aren’t. In fact, it was only recently that anyone even hypothesized they might exist. The atoms in a time crystals operate in a sort of time-array as opposed to a physical-array. The time crystal created by Lukin’s team was a synthetic black diamond, meaning that it was a diamond with a million or so “nitrogen vacancy” impurities — so many they made it appear black. In the second study, a team lead by the Christopher Monroe, physicist at the University of Maryland, used a chain of 14 charged ytterbium ions, but got essentially the same result. Furthermore, the scientists found, varying the incoming electromagnetic pulse didn’t particularly alter the response. In other words, the time crystal’s response was stable, not strongly affected by variances that would normally scramble it and rapidly lead to disorder. “It’s very early days,” says Chetan Nayak, principal researcher at Microsoft’s Station Q and a professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “I think applications will become clearer as we expand the contexts in which we can create time crystals”.

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“Time Crystals Latest Quantum Weirdness” Richard A. Lovett, COSMOS, 10 March 2017

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