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Time crystals are real, but that doesn’t mean time is crystallized (Synopsis) [Starts With A Bang]

Thursday, March 16, 2017 7:33
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“Every particular in nature, a leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time is related to the whole, and partakes of the perfection of the whole.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

When you think of crystals, you likely think of an interlocked, repeating lattice of atoms or molecules. That’s exactly what a conventional crystal is. But recently, there’s been an exciting new idea, first proposed by Frank Wilczek in 2012: that it would be possible to create a time crystal, an entirely new class of system.

Phase diagram of the discrete time crystal as function of Ising interaction strength and spin-echo pulse imperfections. Image credit: Norman Y. Yao, Andrew C. Potter, Ionut-Dragos Potirniche, Ashvin Vishwanath.

Phase diagram of the discrete time crystal as function of Ising interaction strength and spin-echo pulse imperfections. Image credit: Norman Y. Yao, Andrew C. Potter, Ionut-Dragos Potirniche, Ashvin Vishwanath.

You might think that this means that time — rather than atoms or molecules — are crystallized, but that’s not quite right. Instead, particles that are coupled together would spontaneously return to the same state, breaking the symmetry known as time-translation invariance. A method for building one was proposed just last year, and already two independent teams have made it work!

Ten yttrium atoms with entangled electron spins, as used to first create a time crystal. Image credit: Chris Monroe/University of Maryland.

Ten yttrium atoms with entangled electron spins, as used to first create a time crystal. Image credit: Chris Monroe/University of Maryland.

Come get the story on time crystals, including what they are, how they work and what it might mean not just for physics, but for our future.



Source: http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2017/03/16/time-crystals-are-real-but-that-doesnt-mean-time-is-crystallized-synopsis/

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