(Image Credit: Yale University)
Yale University physicists discovered time crystals, "a form of matter that ticks in response to an electromagnetic pulse," in a children's crystal-growing toy kit. Two studies were published in Physical Review Letters and Physical Review B, describing how researchers identified a discrete time crystal's (DTC) behavior in mono-ammonium phosphate. This makes the time theory crystal more complex since researchers originally thought these objects needed an internal disorder to behave as time crystals.
The researchers grew crystals for experimental purposes but wanted to determine if their DTC signal was observable. So they utilized nuclear magnetic resonance and surprisingly discovered the signature rather quickly. "Our crystal measurements looked quite striking right off the bat," the principal investigator for the two new studies Professor Sean Barrett, from Yale University, said. "Our work suggests that the signature of a DTC could be found, in principle, by looking in a children's crystal growing kit."
Comparatively, time crystals are similar to jiggling Jell-O. When you shake Jell-O, the gelatin oscillates with an unmatched frequency to your movements. The same principle applies to time crystals oscillating with a clockwork tick. The structure formation process isn't known, and the research challenges concepts brought up over the past few years. "We realized that just finding the DTC signature didn't necessarily prove that the system had a quantum memory of how it came to be," said Yale graduate student Robert Blum, a co-author of the studies.
The team continued investigating. "This spurred us to try a time crystal 'echo,' which revealed the hidden coherence, or quantum order, within the system," lead author Jared Rovny, a Yale graduate student, said.
Time crystals could eventually boost mobile phone gyroscopes, atomic clocks, and magnetometers. Also, they could play a crucial role in emerging quantum technologies, which could attract more investments over the next few years.
Kids toys becoming more important than they were intended for really captures the mind. Like how the original Playstation is rumored to be the best CD player ever made. Other video game consoles used inside other devices. I wonder what else...
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