January 6, 2016

An international team of scientists conducted an experiment to create and interact with time crystals – physical structures that exist in four dimensions. This form of matter has already been created earlier, but the effect of two time crystals on each other was observed for the first time. This form of substance has already been created earlier, however the impact of two time crystals on each other was observed for the first time. The properties of these crystals, according to the researchers, it can be used to improve the performance of quantum computers, atomic clocks, gyroscopes and satellite navigation systems.

Researchers from Lancaster University and King’s College Holloway (Great Britain) as well as their colleagues from Aalto University (Finland) for the first time observed the interaction of an unusual form of substance – crystals of time.

Scientists have created two crystals inside a superfluid liquid, which was produced by cooling helium-3 (a rare isotope of helium with one missing neutron) to a temperature above absolute zero by only 0.0001 ° C. Then they allowed the two resulting structures to touch.

The existence of time crystals was first predicted by Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek in 2012. These physical structures are a special form of substance. If the lattice of regular crystals represents an invariable and regularly repeating three-dimensional “pattern” in space, then the structure of time crystals changes cyclically and returning to original position through certain intervals. For the first time crystals of time were experimentally demonstrated in 2017, but only now it was possible to see the results of their interaction.

During the experiment, scientists observed how two crystals of time as a result of contact exchanged component particles that flowed from one crystal to another and back – this phenomenon is known in science as the Josephson effect.

Researchers believe that this property (not damaged during the transition from one condition to another) can be used to create powerful quantum computers.

According to scientists, time crystals have great potential for practical use: they can be used to create atomic clocks, to improve the operation of gyroscopes and satellite navigation systems.

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