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Time crystals are a new concept in physics that were originally theorized by Frank Wilczek just ten years ago. Time crystals is a lattice in time rather than space. They are continually evolving and their pattern of arrangement changes along with time. The change is predictable and repeating, and unlike standard physics, the changes don’t require a change of energy. Time crystals, if they truly exist, do not obey the standard laws of physics, like thermodynamics.
Shivaji Sondhi, professor at Princeton, compared time crystals to the squeezing of a sponge. “When you release the sponge, you expect it to resume its shape. Imagine now that it only resumes its shape after every second squeeze even though you are applying the same force each time. That is what a time crystal does.”
Norman Yao, physicist at the University of California Berkeley, said that “this is a new phase of matter, period, but it is also really cool because it is one of the first examples of non-equilibrium matter. For the last half-century, we have been exploring equilibrium matter, like metals and insulators. We are just now starting to explore a whole new landscape of non-equilibrium matter.”
In the Summer of 2021, Google announced that they had been successful in building time crystals. The technology is in the very early stages, yet Google hopes to be able to use time crystals in future quantum computers.
Scientists think that understanding and being able to realize time crystals would allow us to be able to accurately measure time and distance, something which isn’t totally possible with our current understanding of quantum mechanics. Time crystals could revolutionize many of the technologies that we currently use, especially in the areas of computing and communications.