Physicists Generate A New Phase of Matter With "Extra" Time Dimension
By: April Carson
According to a recently published research in Nature, physicists have discovered a new phase of matter with an "additional" time dimension.
The goal of the scientists wasn't to create a "portal to an extra time dimension," as Scientific American put it. They simply wanted to generate a new topological phase of quantum matter, which is a type of quantum matter characterized by dynamic motions rather than static configurations.
In the process of creating this new phase of matter, however, the physicists unintentionally discovered that their system appeared to be "coupled" to an additional time dimension. In other words, they found evidence that there might be an extra time dimension beyond our traditional three-dimensional space.
When they began to work, however, the method they devised for generating such a phase — without depending on high temperatures — resulted in the formation of a new time dimension, according to them.
"It's really exciting to see such an uncommon phase of matter realized in a real experiment, and the mathematical description is based on a theoretical 'additional' time dimension," Philipp Dumitrescu, study co-author and research fellow at Flatiron Institute's Center for Computational Quantum Physics, told New Scientist.
So far, the research team has only managed to create this new time dimension for a fleeting moment — on the order of femtoseconds, or quadrillionths of a second. But they say it should be possible to extend this to longer periods of time, and possibly even indefinitely.
To construct the topological phase and, thus, the "additional" dimension, researchers targeted a quantum computer's quantum bits — or qubits — with a quasi-periodic laser pulse based on the Fibonacci sequence. Consider a quasicrystal.
The Fibonacci sequence, which is a non-repeating but not entirely random sequence, was discovered by the study's lead author Andrew Potter of the University of British Columbia. "Which effectively allows us to construct two separate time dimensions in the system," he said.
In this way, the qubits can be used to store information in a topological phase, which is protected against errors. "This opens up the possibility of storing quantum information in a more robust way," said study senior author Jian-Wei Pan of University of Science and Technology of China.
The team's findings are "promising," according to the researchers, who added that their work is a rare example of such a success. The effect only lasted for a few seconds, but the scientists claim it is nonetheless significant. They think their research might lead to the creation of a sophisticated information storage system for quantum computing with limited error — though as with all things related to quantum mechanics, it is still early days.
"We have a direct, enticing application, but we need to connect it with the computations," Dumitrescu added. "That's an open problem we're trying to solve."
This research is significant because it represents a potential way to store quantum information in a more robust manner. The findings could lead to the creation of a sophisticated information storage system for quantum computing with limited error. This would be a major breakthrough, as quantum computers are notoriously difficult to build and maintain.
The findings of the study were published on Scientific American.
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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
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