Scientists Create Time Crystals As A New Form Of Matter

Posted: Mar 9 2017, 4:27am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Scientists Create Time Crystals as a New Form of Matter
Researchers have created the world's first time crystal, an exotic state of matter that combines the rigidity of an ordinary crystal with a regular rhythm in time. Credit: E. Edwards/JQI
  • Scientists manage to create Totally New Phenomena termed Time Crystals

The scientists have managed to create a totally new phenomena termed time crystals.

We all know what crystals are. Salt, diamonds and snowflakes are perfect examples of crystals. The atoms of these crystals are conceived in such a manner that they repeat themselves in 3D patterns.

Yet today the scientists have divulged new forms of crystals known as time crystals. These are actually a phase of matter. The only difference between time crystals and ordinary crystals is that the former move in a set pattern through time rather than space.

The atoms in a time crystal never rearrange themselves into a set thermal equilibrium. In this state they would have had the same level of heat throughout their configuration.

Instead they cover novel categories of matter known as nonequilibrium phases. While they had always been talked about, they had not existed in reality (uptil now).

Physicists are looking forward to exploring this virgin territory. It is both exciting and exhilarating. A brand new world opens out thanks to this line of research. What was once pure theory has been built from the ground up in a lab setting.

Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are far more surprises in store for humanity in the near future. Such nonequilibrium phases of matter will come in handy in the building of quantum computers.

Time crystals were constructed from ions which were basically electrically charged atoms of the element ytterbium. Via electrical stimulation over 10 of these ions were allowed to float above a surface in what appeared to be a form of magic.

The next step was zapping these ions with a laser. This caused them to do somersaults. This pattern was repeated again and again. Thus the trend repeated itself in time on a consistent basis.

One thing to note down was that these flips took place only half as many times as the laser pulses. This proved once and for all that these were indeed time crystals.

They were behaving weirdly in the element and medium that was called duration. Time crystals are unique in that they were thought about half a decade ago as a mere thought experiment. That theoretical perspective has today become a solid reality though.

The scientists report about the new time crystals in the journal Nature.

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