All regular crystals, such as diamonds, are actually an atomic lattice that keep repeating in space, however, a team of physicists moved a step ahead when they suggested materials that could iterate the patterns in time. In 2016, Norman Yao from UC Berkeley designed phases circulating a time crystal and what can be scaled to confirm that this substance is actually a balanced phase of matter. This motivated two teams to create a time crystal which is one of the first examples that is a nonequilibrium state of matter.
For many, crystals are synonymous with diamonds or other semi-precious crystals or quartz crystals or the jagged amethyst that are mostly loved by the collectors. Norman Yao says that inert crystals are just the beginning of a complete new story. If crystals have an atomic framework that keeps repeating in space just like the carbon lattice present in diamond, these crystals can also be blessed with a structure that can repeat itself in time. This can be called as time crystal, isn’t it?
A paper that was recently established had the assistant physics professor explains the precise process of making and scaling properties of one such crystal and also explains the phases that should be surrounding one such crystal. These are not just speculations, there were two groups that followed Yao’s basic design and have already been successful in creating first time crystals. Time crystals keep repeating themselves in time as these are kicked in periodically such as tapping Jell-O repeatedly to jiggle. Yao adds, “This is a new phase of matter, period, but it is also really cool because it is one of the first examples of non-equilibrium matter. For the last half-century, we have been exploring equilibrium matter, like metals and insulators. We are just now starting to explore a whole new landscape of non-equilibrium matter.”
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