Home Features Best of 2017 Best of 2017 // #74: Time Crystals are a new type of Matter

Best of 2017 // #74: Time Crystals are a new type of Matter

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Best of 2017 // #74: Time Crystals are a new type of Matter

Way back in 2012, Frank Wilczek pondered the existence of a type of matter, new to science, based off a crystal.  That crystal-shaped frame is a pattern of atoms that repeats in space.  Wilczek called them ‘Time Crystals’ and the name stuck

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Many scientist initially ridiculed the idea, but two separate groups have created distinct versions of the idea in the lab.  The pair of papers were published in March’s Nature.

In the time crystal model, a material has millions of electrons flipping back and forth in unison, much like a clock ticking.  The University of Maryland managed this by using 10 ytterbium ions to flip back and forth, and a team at Harvard used a million atoms of nitrogen.

While the model hasn’t proven to last longer enough to provide conclusive results, by getting the different models to flip back and forth suggests that Time Crystals could be a great way to store data or information, with several teams looking at using the medium as memory storage in quantum computers.

Before that can happen, science has a new type of matter to explore.

There’s more stories from 2017.  Check out the Best of 2017 series here

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