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08 Dec, 2022
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Time crystal

What Is Time Crystal For Which Physicists Are Highly Fascinated?

We are all familiar with the basic states of matter- solid, liquid, and gas. These elements constitute everything we see and experience in our surroundings. But, are these elements the only constituents of life on earth, or are there other elements, too, which define life on earth? Well! The latter consideration is true; other elements are also available on earth, which are counted alongside the basic states of matter. Scientists, through their experiments, have discovered (or created) dozens of exotic states of matter, which bear mystical and fanciful names, such as superfluids, Bose-Einstein condensates, neutron-degenerate matter, and others. Physicists have discovered these states of matter along with working on an entirely new concept, a “time crystal”.

What Are Time Crystals?

These are crystals whose atoms start in one state and turn into the other due to external efforts, such as force application or blasts. After turning on to the other state, these atoms flip back to the original state and again flip to the next state. The flip shift cycle keeps working throughout the process of the force application. The fact about times crystals that obsessed physicists is the non-absorbing nature of crystals. Due to this property, time crystals absorb no energy from lasers or other energy delivering sources.

Wait! Does it sound like something that continues to change its structure without absorbing energy? Yes! It does. The concept of time crystals reflects a state of matter which exists in the fourth dimension, which is time. This matter state cannot lose its energy to the surrounding because it is independent of energy transfusion. Therefore, this matter state continues to remain in motion at an lower energy state.

Concept On Which Time Crystals Relies Upon

The fundamental behind the existence and sustenance of time crystals (some says) opposes the second law of thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics states that the amount of entropy, or disorder, always moves in increasing order. This can better be related to the following example.

Consider a flower vase placed at the edge of the table. The forces across the universe will try to fall the vase on the ground to break and shatter it across the floor. The moment that vase falls on the ground, it will lose its regular structure. In that case, if we have to bring that vase into its original shape, we have to put some energy into it. This indicates the need for energy absorption or release for the conversion of any object from one state to the other state of matter.

In contrast to the second law of thermodynamics, time crystals rely on an entirely new concept, which for the first time was theorized by Noble-winning physicist Frank Wilczek in 2012. Not to mention, the physicist society actively rejected the very idea of time crystals. Criticizing the concept of these crystals, some physicists cited that the second law of thermodynamics will rear its legalistic head.

How Physicists Came To A Conclusion About Time Crystals?

As of now, physicists have not published any papers or theories supporting their consideration of time crystals. However, their study reflects their aspiration from time crystals. Working towards their goals, physicists turned to Google and used quantum computers to study how the universe functions at the tiniest scales. For doing so, physicists, rather than using regular computer devices, used quantum computers to do experiments because quantum devices allow particles to act as multiple things at any instance. This supports the interaction of particles from seemingly impossible distances esoterically.

According to Gabriel Perdue, “The ability to simulate the rules…becomes so much harder” with traditional computers”. Perdue is a quantum computer researcher at Fermilab, a national-level lab in suburban Chicago that focuses on high-end particle physics. As per his words, “The arrangement of particles in quantum computer processors allow the study of tiny particles because these turn these particles into building blocks of any system. This is one of the most powerful abilities which non-quantum world can’t see with their frameworks”.

Perdue further added, “We do not compute, you know, how far a baseball goes…by building miniature baseball players and doing simulations. However, doing something quite similar on a very small scale is what the researchers used Google’s quantum computer to do to make their time crystals”.

In the case of time crystals, physicists took atoms and rearranged them. After rearranging, they pulsed them with a laser beam to drive time crystals. The laser beam arrangement allowed researchers to create a bigger time crystal than regular time crystals. The earlier developed time crystals were short-lasting as they unravelled after a few back-and-forth flip cycles. This was why physicists felt the need to develop advanced time crystals. Currently, scientists are working to marvel at the stability of their creations.

Do Time Crystals Relate To The Concept Of Time Machine?

No! Time crystals do not relate to time machines. In fact, time crystals are something which can bolster the concept of quantum computers. Throughout history, engineers have struggled to form something equivalent to silicons as a memory keeper for quantum computers. However, with time crystals, they can easily serve that purpose.

Our experiment, Perdue said, is also a demonstration of the power of quantum computers to do scientific research. “The platform which can simplify the simulation of algorithms can fit in all segments of structural programming necessary for simulating advanced systems”, he added. 

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