It’s been proven that time crystals do in fact exist. Two different teams of researchers created some time crystals just recently, one of which was from the University of Maryland and the other from Harvard University. While the first team used a chain of charged particles called ytterbium ions, the others used a synthetic diamond to create an artificial lattice.
It took a while for the idea of time crystals to stick because they are essentially impossibilities. Unlike conventional crystals where the lattices simply repeat themselves in space, time crystals also repeat in time to breaking time-translation symmetry. This unique phenomenon is the first in demonstrating non-equilibrium phases of matter.
The Harvard researchers are excited with their discoveries so far and are now hoping to uncover more about these time crystals. Mikhail Lukin and Eugene Demler are both physics professors and joint leaders of the Harvard research group. Lukin said in a recent press release, “There is now broad, ongoing work to understand the physics of non-equilibrium quantum systems.” The team is keen to move on with further research as they know by researching materials such as time crystals will help us better understand our own world as well as the quantum world.
Research such as that carried out by the Harvard team will allow others to develop new technologies such as quantum sensors, atomic clocks, or precision measuring tools. In regards to quantum computing, time crystals could be the missing link that we’re searching for when it comes to developing the world’s first workable model. “This is an area that is of interest for many quantum technologies,” said Lukin, “because a quantum computer is a quantum system that’s far away from equilibrium. It’s very much at the frontier of research… and we are really just scratching the surface.” Quantum computer could change the way in which research is carried out and help in solving the most complex of problems. We just need to figure it out first.
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