Time crystals are a brand new form of matter scientist just confirmed. After months of speculations that this form could be created, American researchers led by UC Berkeley’s Norman Yao have managed to make it exist as physical objects. For the first time, these things actually exist!
Non – Equilibrium Matter
For half century scientist explored equilibrium matter. With the creation of time crystals, they stepped in a brand new form of non-equilibrium matter. The first time it was proposed in 2012 by Nobel Laureate theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek. His idea was to create particles with perpetual motion, without radiation of its own rotation energy. This creation should be in the lowest energy state – known as its ground state. As in the zero-point energy, the movements is impossible, Frank thought the solutions are crystals. That’s because crystals have a natural feature to align themselves at low temperatures. The puzzle was the fact that crystals in ground state infringed the rules of fundamental laws of physics and end up in asymmetrical ground states. Adding a time dimension to the crystals was the solution.
Four years later, two separated researchers teams have managed to convert a theoretical idea into physical reality. The team from Maryland University created time crystals by taking a conga line of 10 ytterbium ions with entangled electron spins. In order to keep them out of an equilibrium state, researchers heat it with lasers. Thanks to the spins, atoms aligned themselves into repetitive spin flipping.
Another team from Harvard University used a different method. They took densely packed nitrogen vacancy centers in diamonds and gain same result – time crystals.
The non-equilibrium matter is in an infant phase of research and understanding. Achieving the creation of time crystals is a first great step. Practical use of crystals could be in the field of quantum computing. On the other side, we know that there are a lot of matter in the Universe, that is in the non-equilibrium state of matter. With its better understanding, we will have a deeper insight of our surroundings.