What in the world are Time Crystals?

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No idea what they are and classmates won’t stop pestering me with it. I don’t really understand the definitions provided on Google.

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3 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

If you take a normal crystal, (eg, salt), an freeze it all the way down to “absolute zero”, then the particles in the crystal won’t be moving. However, they have a regular structure horizontally and vertically – in space.

If you move in space along the crystal, there’s a regular pattern. But in time, it’s constant. (That’s only at absolute zero though – at higher temperatures. the atoms are jiggling randomly, within the confines of their “spot” in the crystal. Random jiggling doesn’t count here.)

A “time crystal” is different. When you freeze it to absolute zero, you find the atoms are *still moving*. They’ll be wobbling back and forth in a perfectly regular pattern. So they not only have a regular pattern in space, but in time also.

You might think that this means there’s still some heat that could be removed – after all, if they’re moving, doesn’t that mean they have kinetic energy, and so the temperature isn’t 0? But the normal “high school” definition of temperature doesn’t actually work well near absolute zero, and these “time crystals” really have no energy left to remove. To stop the vibration of the atoms, you’d have to actually add energy, if it was possible at all.

Anonymous 0 Comments

PBS Space Time covered this five years ago before I had heard of them. Matt is a published astrophysicist, and has a ton of great videos covering a wide variety of macro, micro, and theoretical topics.

Anonymous 0 Comments

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