Science | Researchers create new state of matter: ‘time crystals’

Scientists from the University of Granada (sure of Spain) and Tübingen (Germany) have discovered a way to create time crystals, a new phase of matter that emulates a crystal structure in the fourth dimension, time, rather than just space, from extreme fluctuations in many-particle physical systems.

The time crystals They are a new state of matter recently proposed by the Nobel laureate in physics Frank Wilczek, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in the United States.

The finding is especially relevant, the researchers explained, in fields such as metrology, for the more accurate watch design, o en quantum computing, where the time crystals they can be used to simulate ground states or design more robust quantum computers.

In the time crystals -whose existence was first suggested in 2012-, atoms repeat a pattern through the fourth dimension, time, unlike normal crystals (like a diamond), which have atoms arranged in a repeating spatial structure, has informed the University of Granada.

These new temporary crystals are characterized by performing a periodic movement in time.

Researchers, including Rubén Hurtado Gutiérrez, Carlos Pérez Espigares and Pablo Hurtado, from the Department of Electromagnetism and Physics of Matter at the University of Granada, demonstrate in this study that certain dynamic phase transitions that appear in thes rare fluctuations of many physical systems they spontaneously break the translational symmetry in time.

Scientists have proposed a new way to use this natural phenomenon to create time crystals.

To carry out the simulations of this work, the scientists have used the Proteus supercomputer, belonging to the Carlos I Institute of Theoretical and Computational Physics of the University of Granada, considered one of the most powerful general scientific calculation supercomputers in Spain.

Researcher Pablo Hurtado explained that “Einstein’s relativity taught us that time is somehow flexible, and that it is inextricably linked to space in a whole that we know as spacetime.”

This unification is, however, partial, since time is still special in many ways, says the scientist, who gives as an example that “we can move back and forth between any two points in space, but nevertheless we cannot visit the past. ; time has an arrow, while space has no such arrow. “

In their study, the scientists propose a hitherto unexplored route to construct time crystals, based on the recent observation of spontaneous breaking of time translational symmetry in the fluctuations of many-particle systems.

The results, the researchers said, are important because they open an unexplored path to better understand time and its symmetries, while, on a practical level, they teach new ways of creating. time crystals.

(With information from EFE)


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