We all know the States of Matter taught in our high school classes: Solid, Liquid, Gas, and even more eccentric states like Superfluids, Bose-Einstein Condensates, neutron-degenerate matter, and many more. However, In the last few years, growing curiosity and peculiarity among scientists led to discovering the new phase of matter Namely ‘Time Crystals’.
Researchers at Google and scientists at Stanford, Princeton, and other universities discovered this new phase of matter using Google’s quantum computer. This Newly discovered phase called the “Time crystals” came into the world of quantum physics when Frank Wilczek, a Noble prize winner and professor at MIT, and Xiang Zhang, a nanoengineer at UC Berkeley with their team, proposed creating Time crystals in the form of a constantly revolving ring of charged ionic particles.
In response to Wilczek and Xiang Zhang, Patrick Bruno and Masaki Oshikawa published several articles regarding the validity of Time crystals, which they claimed to be impossible. However, in 2019, physicists Valerii Kozin and Oleksandr Kyriienko proved that a permanent quantum time crystal could exist as an independent system if the system contains unusual long-range multiparticle interactions rather than short-range that decays quickly.
Time crystals are the first objects to spontaneously break time-translation symmetry: the rule that a stable object will remain the same throughout time. In contrast, time crystals are both stable and ever-changing, with memorable moments at periodic intervals in time.
A time crystal is a particular phase of matter that changes constantly but does not even appear to use any energy, which in reason violates Newton’s first law of motion. This tiny matter also violates the second law of Thermodynamics because it is always a stable and ever-changing particle.
In July 2021, a group of over 100 scientists worldwide collaborated with Google Quantum AI, with Google, NASA, and the nonprofit Universities Space Research Association to research quantum computing and computer science. The scientists explain building a special microscopic rig where a time crystal is covered by superconducting qubits—individual particles like the quantum computer’s building blocks. The researchers reported observing a discrete-time crystal on Google’s sycamore processor, well known for achieving a reputation for quantum computing.
Google’s team represented the coins in a box with qubits spinning upwards and downwards in a closed system. Instead of shaking the box, they applied a set of specific quantum operations that can change the state of the qubits, which they repeated many times. Studying the system after a certain number of operations or shakes reveals a configuration of qubits that is not random but instead looks somewhat similar to the original set-up and does not end here. Operate or shake the system an even number of times, and the result will be a similar configuration to the original one – but shake or operate it an odd number of times, and it ends up in another state, and vice-versa and no matter how many operations are carried out on the system, it always goes regularly back-and-forth between those two states. Scientists call this a break in the symmetry of time – which is why time crystals are called so. This is because the operation carried out to stimulate the system is always the same, yet the response only comes every other shake or operation.
Time Crystals have an excellent potential for improving the current atomic clock and gyroscopes and other systems linked to the atomic clock, such as GPS. Because the Time crystals are one of the newcomers in the quantum industry, with being around ten years old in the STEM world, It is hard to determine the immense use of this state until more advanced studies and research are conducted for this emerging matter.
Video Lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYZMqtDxrYg
Video Lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUkRljwBW-Q