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Science journals of interest: Scientific American - Nature - New Scientist - Science AAAS - Science Daily

LAST EDITED: March 17, 2015

Here are some interesting links I had stickied:
Yeano's thread: Proving Something is Independent of our Axioms.
Yeano's thread: Algebraic Topology and Model Theory

We have LaTeX running on GT! Thanks to Xhin!

Time Crystals
Posted: Posted February 7th
Edited February 7th by Ghowilo
To most people, crystals mean diamond bling, semiprecious gems or perhaps the jagged amethyst or quartz crystals beloved by collectors.

To Norman Yao, these inert crystals are the tip of the iceberg.

If crystals have an atomic structure that repeats in space, like the carbon lattice of a diamond, why can’t crystals also have a structure that repeats in time? That is, a time crystal?

In a paper published online last week in the journal Physical Review Letters, the UC Berkeley assistant professor of physics describes exactly how to make and measure the properties of such a crystal, and even predicts what the various phases surrounding the time crystal should be — akin to the liquid and gas phases of ice.

A one-dimensional chain of ytterbium ions was turned into a time crystal by physicists at the University of Maryland, based on a blueprint provided by UC Berkeley’s Norman Yao. Each ion behaves like an electron spin and exhibits long-range interactions indicated as arrows. (Image courtesy of Chris Monroe)

This is not mere speculation. Two groups followed Yao’s blueprint and have already created the first-ever time crystals. The groups at the University of Maryland and Harvard University reported their successes, using two totally different setups, in papers posted online last year, and have submitted the results for publication. Yao is a co-author on both papers.

Time crystals repeat in time because they are kicked periodically, sort of like tapping Jell-O repeatedly to get it to jiggle, Yao said. The big breakthrough, he argues, is less that these particular crystals repeat in time than that they are the first of a large class of new materials that are intrinsically out of equilibrium, unable to settle down to the motionless equilibrium of, for example, a diamond or ruby.

“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,” Yao said. “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.”

While Yao is hard put to imagine a use for a time crystal, other proposed phases of non-equilibrium matter theoretically hold promise as nearly perfect memories and may be useful in quantum computers.

An ytterbium chain

The time crystal created by Chris Monroe and his colleagues at the University of Maryland employs a conga line of 10 ytterbium ions whose electron spins interact, similar to the qubit systems being tested as quantum computers. To keep the ions out of equilibrium, the researchers alternately hit them with one laser to create an effective magnetic field and a second laser to partially flip the spins of the atoms, repeating the sequence many times. Because the spins interacted, the atoms settled into a stable, repetitive pattern of spin flipping that defines a crystal.

This phase diagram shows how changing the experimental parameters can ‘melt’ a time crystal into a normal insulator or heat up a time crystal to a high temperature thermal state. Norman Yao graphic.

Time crystals were first proposed in 2012 by Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek, and last year theoretical physicists at Princeton University and UC Santa Barbara’s Station Q independently proved that such a crystal could be made. According to Yao, the UC Berkeley group was “the bridge between the theoretical idea and the experimental implementation.”

From the perspective of quantum mechanics, electrons can form crystals that do not match the underlying spatial translation symmetry of the orderly, three-dimensional array of atoms, Yao said. This breaks the symmetry of the material and leads to unique and stable properties we define as a crystal.

A time crystal breaks time symmetry. In this particular case, the magnetic field and laser periodically driving the ytterbium atoms produce a repetition in the system at twice the period of the drivers, something that would not occur in a normal system.

“Wouldn’t it be super weird if you jiggled the Jell-O and found that somehow it responded at a different period?” Yao said. “But that is the essence of the time crystal. You have some periodic driver that has a period ‘T’, but the system somehow synchronizes so that you observe the system oscillating with a period that is larger than ‘T’.”

Yao worked closely with Monroe as his Maryland team made the new material, helping them focus on the important properties to measure to confirm that the material was in fact a stable or rigid time crystal. Yao also described how the time crystal would change phase, like an ice cube melting, under different magnetic fields and laser pulsing.

The Harvard team, led by Mikhail Lukin, set up its time crystal using densely packed nitrogen vacancy centers in diamonds.

“Such similar results achieved in two wildly disparate systems underscore that time crystals are a broad new phase of matter, not simply a curiosity relegated to small or narrowly specific systems,” wrote Phil Richerme, of Indiana University, in a perspective piece accompanying the paper published in Physical Review Letters. “Observation of the discrete time crystal… confirms that symmetry breaking can occur in essentially all natural realms, and clears the way to several new avenues of research.”

Yao is continuing his own work on time crystals as he explores the theory behind other novel but not-yet-realized non-equilibrium materials.

Yao’s co-authors are UC Berkeley professor of physics Ashvin Vishwanath,; Andrew Potter, now an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin; and UC Berkeley graduate student Ionut-Dragos Potirniche.

The work was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Simons Investigator Program, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and UC Berkeley’s Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science.

[zoom]Science, Bitch!
There are 24 Replies

but what do they look like and what do they do

Posted February 7th by poptart!

replying to you here to avoid derailing a valuable anti-trump thread

"They're crystals that have been stimulated in such a way that they never stop moving."

um, if that's true, wouldn't this be bigger news? like wouldn't constant movement reverse entropy or whatever? btw i'm not a scientist don't judge me bb

"Scientists are saying they've 'broken time'"

i don't follow what it has to do with time

how big are they

Posted February 7th by poptart!

I'm not exactly sure. One of the ones I heard about was made with diamonds, so I'm guessing a constantly vibrating diamond. It is big news, it's just science doesn't get covered in the same category as world or local politics, you've got to look in science news topics. Also, this happened less than a week ago, and that's another reason people are just starting to notice.

Posted February 7th by Ghowilo

Here's a DNews video about them.

Posted February 7th by Ghowilo

i don't want to watch some easily excitable youtube doofus. link me to a man in a lab coat explaining it please

Posted February 7th by poptart!

> some easily excitable youtube doofus.

You do know that DNews is a branch from the Discovery Channel right? Ya know, the science cable channel.

Posted February 7th by Ghowilo

I can't wait to hear about how people think this angers the various time-related deities, how this signals le end times, and how people will speculate about time machines.

Posted February 7th by KnokkelMillennium

oh, you mean that same discovery channel that was responsible for the dragon hoax and the mermaid hoax

Posted February 7th by poptart!

oh, you mean that same discovery channel that was responsible for the dragon hoax and the mermaid hoax

Lol what? I must have missed that. Anyway, the article above was published by Berkeley. You can also look the shit up on Google or look through a science related news feed.

Posted February 7th by Ghowilo

"Anyway, the article above was published by Berkeley."

i'm not saying that it's not real; i'm saying that i want to see one or read an actual explanation and don't want some douchebag to blow it out of proportion

anyway i am googling it right now, and

"One of the ones I heard about was made with diamonds, so I'm guessing a constantly vibrating diamond."

this is absolutely not what it is

i think it's just another boring particle or quantum thing

it's also not a perpetual motion thing apparently. i guess it moves without any energy?? (so you couldn't get any energy out of it)

Edited February 7th by poptart!

boring particle or quantum thing

I see we're speaking in oxymorons now.

Posted February 7th by Ghowilo

a thing that you can't see does something that other things that you can't see normally don't do, and it has no effect on anything and no use for anything

yeah i think that's pretty boring

Posted February 7th by poptart!

Lmfao okay then.

Posted February 7th by Ghowilo

talk to me when they build a supercomputer or a time gun out of it

also i still don't understand what time has to do with it at all

MODERN SCIENCE: A Play by Poptart!

Scientist #1: Hmm, this thing I made makes particles move strangely.

Sceintist #2: Wow, let's call it a PARTICLE CANNON!!!!!!!!

Scientist #1: Haha, neat, like a sci-fi thing. Sci-fi is great.


Normal Person: But what does it even do? This is boring!


Nothing else ever happens.

the end

Edited February 7th by poptart!

and before you ask why i'm acting so salty about this, it's because you made me read boring science stuff and now i'm bitter

EDIT: good thing i have adblock

Edited February 7th by poptart!

I was also disappointed by the over-dramatic "time crystal" branding.

Posted February 7th by nullfather

^ yeah, if they had called it "particle thing that people might be able to use in computers and is probably a new form of matter," i would have said, "neat." but calling it a "time crystal" makes me think that they made a cool 4d diamond and then immediately crushes my hopes and dreams.

the way the media, science blogs like that "i fucking love science" trash, and even scientists themselves (fuck you NDGT) treat science is fucking obnoxious

Edited February 7th by poptart!

>the way the media, science blogs like that "i fucking love science" trash, and even scientists themselves (fuck you NDGT) treat science is fucking obnoxious

Agreed. One of my hugest pet peeves are the ass-cancer tier Facebook/Tumblr blogs like did-you-know who just drop one-sentence bullshit posts that don't teach you anything and usually take the information completely out of context.

Edited February 8th by nullfather

Sigh, there goes my dreams of collecting crystals and conquering the past.

Posted February 8th by Moonray

I found a picture for you poptart.

Posted February 17th by Ghowilo

Also, here's a picture that's not microscopic.

Posted February 17th by Ghowilo

Holy shit, that first one is literally like an endless spiral. Literally.

Posted February 17th by KnokkelMillennium


Posted February 17th by Ghowilo

The first pic is a piece of stock art.

The second one is at least actually connected to the subject. I.e. it's been used as a representation of the crystal, though I have a hard time believing that they've produced that amount of material when working on the level of individual ions.

Edited February 17th by nullfather
Reply to: Time Crystals

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