New Phase Of Matter Discovered: Time Crystals
Start writing a post
Student Life

New Phase Of Matter Discovered: Time Crystals

We've officially broken science.

New Phase Of Matter Discovered: Time Crystals

Nowadays it seems like there isn't too much that's new anymore. All the good ideas have been used in some form or another, and some discovery you stumbled upon turns out to be one someone else already found fifty years ago. But fear not, comrades, for now we truly have something new. Something once deemed impossible.

Recently, two teams of scientists from the University of Maryland and Harvard University respectively have discovered a new form of matter called "time crystals." This may sound like something out of a science fiction novel, but allow me to explain.

Time crystals are a new discovery which has been found to have a repeating lattice structure, similar to solid crystals. But instead of repeating as a solid, they repeat in time. If you were to look at a time crystal for one moment, look away, then look back again, it will have changed its fundamental shape. It will come back to the shape that you first observed it in after a certain amount of time, depending on its variables, and operates in a constant cycle.

Normally, things that are in constant motion need outside energy to stay in motion (as explained in Newton's 2nd Law of Thermodynamics). But with time crystals, such is not entirely the case. The way that it works is that time crystals are in a state of perpetual motion due to a fracture in the symmetry of time, which allows for continuous motion.This also means that it is the only state of matter currently known that is not intrinsically in equilibrium.

According to Norman Yao, the lead researcher of both teams of scientists and co-author on both papers (which are still undergoing peer review), time crystals repeat in time because they are periodically "kicked", like poking Jell-O repeatedly to make it move. But instead of someone constantly keeping up the motion, the Jell-O settles into a stable pattern and continues to move on its own through vibrating in time, the fourth dimension, instead of just our standard three dimensions. Such is the essence of time crystals.

Though it was deemed impossible by physicists, time crystals were first predicted by the late Nobel prize laureate Frank Wilczek back in 2012. And now, a little after four years later, we may be on the breach of one of the most important scientific discoveries not only of our decade, but possibly of our generation.

"This is a new phase of matter, period," said Yao, "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."

Isn't science an amazing thing?

-Links For Further Reading-

Time Crystals Are Now A Thing

Scientists Unveil New Form Of Matter: Time Crystals

Physicists Actually Create "Impossible" Time Crystals

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

How Not To Go Insane During Summer

Holy cow. If you're like me, you are bored out of your mind taking summer classes all the way until August. Then just to come right back and take more classes for the Fall?

It is like I am going insane.


I mean, I am taking rigorous classes which allow me to devote a lot of my time towards them, but is only two classes. By the time I get done, I have a whole half of the day full of nothing. I end up just sitting on my phone for most of the day instead of doing something practical.

So here I have compiled a list of how to keep yourself from not going crazy!

Keep Reading... Show less

Week One of Being A Freshie Again

August rolls around, and school starts again...

Week One of Being A Freshie Again
Dear Freshman Me,

Most of us officially embarked on the journey of college. Yay! more school, how great is that? (Sarcasm people) This past week has been my first week at this amazing university. I've been finding all of the neat little short cuts that save me 10 minutes to get to a class, or just allow me to de-stress a little when I feel over whelmed.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Life Of Leaving Home

Home away from homelessness.

Chris Barbalis

One of the best things about summers in college is getting to go home. Yes, we work ungodly hours but at least we get to come back to our own bed and mom's cooking. I sat in my dorm back in May counting down the finals that I had left until I was able to go back to where I grew up. It's hard to think though that I'll never have the chance to count that down again.

Keep Reading... Show less

I Love You, Summer Love

Summer love isn't just for the summer this time.


Ahhh, summer love.

Keep Reading... Show less

When in your life will you have the opportunity to live in a foreign country, to explore a new part of the world, not as a tourist? The answer is right now. 

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments