Time Crystals: New Form Of Matter Created

Posted: Jan 27 2017, 8:04pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Time Crystals: New Form of Matter Created
A one-dimensional chain of ytterbium ions was turned into a time crystal by physicists at the University of Maryland, based on a blueprint provided by UC Berkeley’s Norman Yao. Each ion behaves like an electron spin and exhibits long-range interactions indicated as arrows. Credit: Image courtesy of Chris Monroe)
  • Physicists reveal Novel Materials termed Time Crystals

Researchers have revealed novel materials that have been termed time crystals.

To many people, crystals mean such precious gemstones as diamonds, emeralds and rubies. Yet to the scientists who are on the leading edge of science and technology, such static crystals are just the beginning of an endless journey.

The field goes far ahead in this matter. Crystals have a structure that is basically a series of repetitions. Thus carbon has a lattice arrangement. Yet did you know that some crystals also have a structure that undergoes repetition in the fourth dimension (that is time).

A paper was published online in the journal Physical Review Letters and it showed that these time crystals had properties that went through various phases. These resembled the states of water which are solid, liquid and gas.

This, by the way, is not just a thought experiment. It has a basis in reality. Two teams have already made these crystals in the lab from scratch. The time crystals undergo changes in the same manner as jelly vibrates and quivers when it is given a nudge.

You touch it here and it jiggles there. The main point is that these crystals are basically not in equilibrium. They cannot reach the crystalline stability seen in say a ruby or a diamond.

It is an altogether new material and the really mind-boggling thing is that it is a non-equilibrium state of matter. For the past 50 odd years, metals and insulators have been the focal point of much study.

This is the first time that a whole new landscape is being explored by science and scientists. These time crystals do have a memory on a primitive level and they may come in handy in quantum computing in the future.

The time crystal contains a conga line of 10 ytterbium ions. Their electron spins interact. These are than hit by laser lights. The first time that time crystals were posited was in 2012. They entered the fertile mind of a Nobel laureate.

Apparently electrons can form crystals. It is a brand new world that this discovery has opened up for science. The theory behind these time crystals is just right. It is their practical applications that will have to be chalked out with the passage of time though.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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