Physicists Confirm the Existence of Time Crystals in Epic Quantum Computer Simulation
By: April Carson
Are you searching for a loophole in the laws that ban perpetual motion? More than a keen eye for high-quality gems is required to recognize you've found an actual time crystal.
In a new study, researchers from around the world used Google's Sycamore quantum computing hardware to double-check their theoretical vision of a time crystal, confirming it fits all of the criteria for an emerging type of technology that we're still learning about.
A time crystal is a system that displays an infinitely repeating variation in its behavior, one that does not need energy to enter or depart. It's similar to regular crystals formed of endlessly recurring atomic components, which are made up of atoms that repeat themselves every second.
However, because the system's entropy does not rise, it should sit on the right side of physics, which is what happens in fact.
In reality, a time crystal might appear to be an oscillation that does not follow the rest of the system's rhythms. A laser, for example, may fire pulses every other tap to cause your time crystal's particles' spins to flip only on alternate taps.
This recalcitrant flip-flopping is a time crystal characteristic that has been observed in previous studies, and it has served as proof of the design and production of time crystals.
But the sheer complexity of a large number of interacting quantum objects all moving at their own pace allows for theories that aren't necessarily based on the same rules that govern time crystal physics.
While such a scenario is unlikely, we can't entirely rule out the possibility that a system that appears to be a time crystal will gradually warm up over millennia and ultimately collapse.
You may just sit and watch your crystal buzz until the Universe's heat death, of course. Alternatively, you may let a quantum computer do it for you.
"The long-term goal is that we're taking the devices that are supposed to be the quantum computers of the future and looking at them as complex quantum systems on their own," adds Stanford University physicist Matteo Ippoliti.
"We're putting the computer to work as a new experimental platform to discover and identify new phases of matter, instead of computing."
The origins of this particular time crystal can be traced to work conducted by Stanford theoretical physicist Vedika Khemani on non-equilibrium physics, which was innocently starting.
We're quite familiar with the consequences of this sort of physics in our day-to-day lives. Leave your hot cup of coffee on the bench for half an hour, and you'll see how rapidly its heat energy dissipates as it sits out of kilter with its surroundings.
In the field of quantum physics, Khemani and her colleagues were more concerned with the energy imbalance on a less intuitive level.
It was only when a researcher highlighted connections between Khemani's study and her own that she began to take interest in this new branch of physics.
"Time crystals are a unique example of a new type of non-equilibrium quantum phase of matter," according to Khemani.
"While much of our knowledge on condensed matter physics is based on equilibrium systems, these new quantum devices are allowing us to peer into intriguing non-equilibrium condition in many-body physics."
Using Google's quantum technology as a basis, the team was able to search for evidence of infinite repetition in just a few hundred kicks of a laser pulse by modeling their time crystal on it. They also had the option to reverse the simulation and increase its size.
"It basically told us how to compensate for its own mistakes so that we could determine the fingerprint of ideal time-crystalline behavior from finite time data," says Roderich Moessner, a theoretical physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Physics of Complex Systems in Germany.
Using real time crystals to model with confidence that they represent a genuinely unique phase of matter might be helpful for investigating the bewildering complexities of non-equilibrium quantum physics.
The discovery of such a system could lead to new theoretical laws, some of which may be derived from the newly discovered mechanism. The study also showed that all quantities on Earth are linked and influence each other in ways we have yet to understand—a finding that implies there is much more going on at a quantum level than has been previously thought.
A time crystal will one day be a sought-after possession among many scientists in various disciplines. There's now less of a risk of them being defrauded.
This work was published in Nature.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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