Real Time Crystals Cooked for the First Time
Ordinary crystals use a repeating pattern to form a structure. In a time crystal however, it’s the electrons which move in a loop instead of a straight line and occasionally bunch up then flow smoothly again repeating in time the same way regular crystals repeat in space. They are the world’s first version of an enigmatic form of matter.
Norman Yao and his team from the University of California have recently published a paper containing the blueprints for creating a time crystal and the recipe has already been followed by two other teams.
When you expose one of Yao’s crystals to an external force like a pulse from a laser, it triggers the magnetic spin of one ion to shift which in turn causes the spin of the next ion to switch triggering the entire system of the crystal to go into a repeating pattern of periodic motion. Periodic motion is just motion repeated at equal intervals of time for example a rocking chair or a bouncy ball.
These time crystals could play an enormous role in the creation of stable qubits for quantum computing. Unlike the classical bit which can only can only be in a state of either vertical or horizontal polarization, quantum mechanics allows the qubit to be in a superposition of two states at once. So a bit normally codes for either a 0 or a 1, a qubit can represent the 0 and the 1 simultaneously which has massive implications in quantum computing.