Illustration of Time crystal

2017 Time crystal

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Frank Wilczek, Krzysztof Sacha, Norman Yao, Christopher Monroe, Mikhail Lukin physics Illustration of Time crystal

Time crystal

Crystals repeat a pattern in space but most do not change over time. Time crystals repeat patterns in both space and time. For a while, scientists thought time crystals couldn’t exist. But now we know they can break time-translation symmetry by having a repeated motion without providing kinetic energy.

Inherent motion

Electrons and photons have inherent motion. Stop a photon and it ceases to exist, but transfers its energy to something else, another particle, another form of energy. Inside a proton, under immense pressure, quarks and gluons achieve an equilibrium. On the quantum scale, laws of thermodynamics are questionable.

A word about rhyming

In my mind I find a rime is not a rhyme— it’s a homonym— but a sneeze is a freeze and a half-integer spin is thicker than skin, limited by what I admit.

Some crystals are not symmetrical with respect to rotation or mirroring. The idea with time crystals is that some are not symmetrical with translations in time.

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