Physicists Link Two Time Crystals in Seemingly Impossible Experiment

Physicists have recently developed a system of two linked time crystals, described as "strange quantum systems" that are stuck in an endless loop to which the standard regulations of thermodynamics are not applicable. 

By linking two-time crystals together, a Scientific American specified report, the physicists are hoping to finally use the technology to develop a new kind of quantum computer. According to the lead scientist on the program Samuli Autti, from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, it is an unusual privilege to examine a novel phase of matter.

Autti also explained, "we encounter normal crystals all the time" every day, from the ice in a cocktail to the diamonds found in jewelry. More so, while crystals are stunning, they depict a breakdown of the standard symmetries of nature.

A 'Beautiful Symmetry'

Essentially, the laws of physics are symmetric through space. This means that the essential equations of electromagnetism, gravity, or quantum mechanics are applicable equally throughout the totality of the volume of the universe.

They work in any direction, as well. Therefore, a laboratory experiment that is rotated 90 degrees needs to produce the same results, all else equal. However, in a crystal, this beautiful symmetry gets broken. The crystal's molecules arrange themselves in a preferred direction, creating a repeating spatial construction.

In the physicists' jargon, a crystal is a perfect example of "spontaneous symmetry breaking," the fundamental laws of physics stay symmetric, although the molecules' arrangement isn't.


In this new research, Live Science reported that Autti and his team developed their time crystal. Magnons are "quasiparticles" emerging in a group of atoms collective state. In this circumstance, the researchers took helium-3, a helium atom with two protons but just one neutron, and cooled it to within a ten-thousandth degree above absolute zero.

At this temperature, the helium-3 turned into a Bose-Einstein condensate, where all the atoms share a common quantum condition and work in accordance with each other.

In that condensate, all of the electrons' spins in the helium-3 connected and worked together, producing waves of magnetic energy known as "magnons." These waves sloshed back and forth forever, which makes them a time crystal.

The Goal to Develop Time Crystals

The team took two groups of magnons, each of which operates as its crystal, and brought them close enough to influence each other. The magnons' combined system functioned as a one-time crystal with two different conditions.

Researchers in the team hope that their experiment can elucidate the link between quantum and classical physics, a similar World News Era report said. Their goal is to develop time crystals that interact with their environments minus the quantum states disintegrating, enabling the time crystal does not have kinetic energy in the typical sense, although it could be utilized for quantum computing.

Having two states is essential as that is the basis for computation. In classical computer systems, the basic unit of information is little, which can take either 0 or 1 state, while in quantum computing, each "qubit" can be in more than a single place at the same time, giving way to much more computing power. This then could mean that time crystals can also be utilized as a building block for quantum devices working outside the laboratory.

Functioning as True Computational Devices

In such a state, the team's two-level system would now be a "basic building block," explained Autti. This work is presently very far away from a working quantum computer, although it opens up interesting study routes.

If researchers can control the two-time crystal system minus destroying their quantum states, they could develop larger time crystal systems that function as true computational devices.

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