Time crystals are ‘impossible’, but they are subject to quantum physics

time crystals

The researchers cooled liquid superfluid helium-3 to nearly absolute zero (minus 273.15 degrees Celsius) inside this rotating refrigerator, twice creating crystals and keeping them within reach. Image Credit: © Aalto University / Mikko Raskinen

Scientists have created the first two-body system “a time crystal” in an experiment that appears to twist the laws of physics.

This comes after the same team recently witnessed the first interaction of a new phase of the matter.

time crystals It has long been thought to be impossible because it is made of atoms In an endless movement. The discovery was published in Nature Communicationsindicates that it can not only time Crystals are formed, but they are likely to turn into useful devices.

Time crystals differ from standard crystals – such as minerals or rocks – which are made up of atoms arranged in a regularly repeating pattern in space.

First developed in 2012 by Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek and defined in 2016, time crystals exhibit the peculiar property of being stationary, repeating motion in time despite no external input. Its atoms are constantly oscillating, spinning, or moving first in one direction, and then in the other.

EPSRC Fellow Dr Samoli Ooty, lead author from the Department of Physics at Lancaster University, explained: “Everyone knows it perpetual motion Machines are impossible. However, in quantum physics, perpetual motion is fine as long as we close our eyes. By sneaking through this crack we can make time crystals.”

“It turns out that putting the two of them together works beautifully, even if the time crystals weren’t present in the first place. And we already know that they are also present at room temperature.”

The “two-level system” is a fundamental building block of a quantum computer. Time crystals can be used to build quantum devices that work with them Room temperature.

An international team of researchers from Lancaster University, Royal Holloway London, the Landau Institute and Aalto University in Helsinki have observed time crystals using helium-3, a rare isotope of helium with one neutron missing. The experiment was conducted at Aalto University.

They cooled superfluid helium-3 to about one ten thousandth of absolute zero (0.0001 K, or -273.15 degrees Celsius). The researchers created two time crystals inside the superfluid, and brought them into contact. Then observe the two scientists time crystals react as described Quantum physics.


First-ever observation of the interaction of ‘time crystals’


more information:
Two-level nonlinear dynamics of quantum time crystals, Nature Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-022-30783-w

Introduction of
Lancaster University


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