The theory regarding a structure that respects four dimensions exactly like a crystal has been fascinating the scientific world since 2012. It was Frank Anthony Wilczek, a Professor of Physics and a Nobel laureate, who first came up with this idea. To his theory, a time crystal could be a system of particles that are moving through time and space, but they always come back to the original state. It was only recently when scientists from the University of California might have finally made this theory a reality.
People see crystals as a noble object not only for its mesmerizing show of lights but also for its perfect symmetry. They are the symbol of the laws of physics that apply in all possible directions. Time crystals are yet a more exciting idea as they respect not only spatial symmetry but also the temporal one. As of recently, a team of scientists from the University of California has come up with the blueprint of such matter for the first time in history. Other two independent teams have replicated the experiment with great success. This chain of events might mark the birth of a new era in quantum physics.
For decades, scientists have managed to understand everything there is under the hood of materials that are in equilibrium. These are something humanity is familiar with, like metals and insulators. However, now the scientists shift their focus towards a virgin territory, that of matter that is not in equilibrium. Time crystals are one such fascinated subject, and now we have proof that they are real.
The existence of non-equilibrium matter will encourage researchers to study the surrounding world from a new, different perspective. Such knowledge can pioneer quantum computing and other novel technologies alike. The matter that is in equilibrium has a fixed form and cannot move as this would imply to expend energy.
Usually, common crystals have a structure that repeats in space only. However, they are not capable of movement, because they are in equilibrium. On the other hand, time crystals can repeat its structure in time and space alike without the pressure of a source of energy. The lead author of the paper, Norman Yao, has not only figured out how to create such a concept but also how to predict its changing shapes.
The other two independent teams from Harvard and Maryland University are waiting for approval to publish their papers on how they replicated time crystals. Until their research confirms the existence of such a new matter, the world can dream of creating a strong quantum memory for the first time.
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