Post by WeAreAllOne on Feb 2, 2017 13:17:25 GMT -8
It sounds like something pulled straight from the pages of a Marvel comic book: strange crystals that can move without energy. The crystals’ structure repeats in both space and time. These time crystals, first theorized in 2012, are now a reality thanks to two independent research teams. This discovery could confirm an entirely new type of matter and become foundational for further quantum study.
Nobel-Prize winning theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek proposed time crystals in 2012. He categorized them as structures that appear to move at their lowest state of energy – their ground state. For most matter, when they reach ground state (zero point energy system), movement would be impossible without an expense of energy.
But, as the researchers discovered, time crystals aren’t typical matter.
Time crystals continually oscillate in their ground state. They break time symmetry. Current quantum understanding says that electrons form crystals that normally create order. However, time crystals break that spatial relationship. The researchers describe it like Jell-O, but if you shook the Jell-O only to find it moved at a different period.
“This is a new phase of matter, period, but it is also really cool because it is one of the first examples of non-equilibrium matter,” said lead researcher Norman Yao from the University of California, Berkeley.
“For the last half-century, we have been exploring equilibrium matter, like metals and insulators. We are just now starting to explore a whole new landscape of non-equilibrium matter.”
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