Researchers have woken up to the idea that a "space-time crystal" would keep time accurate even after the universe dies. Although the concept sounds interesting, the scientists are yet to find a way to build the structure.
Frank Wilczek, a physicist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), had earlier proposed the idea but only proved it mathematically. Now a team of researchers from California's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has decided to make it a reality. The team suggested that the creation of a 4D clock will help understand the most complicated phenomena like entanglement, where the action of one distanced particle impacts the another.
"The idea of creating a crystal with dimensions higher than that of conventional 3D crystals is an important conceptual breakthrough in physics, and it is very exciting for us to be the first to devise a way to realize a space-time crystal," Berkeley Lab physicist Tongcang Li, a member of the research group, said according to Live Science.
The proposed 4D space-time crystal, which would be similar to 3D crystals, would have a periodic structure in time and space.
"The electric field of the ion trap holds charged particles in place and Coulomb repulsion causes them to spontaneously form a spatial ring crystal," said Xiang Zhang, a faculty scientist, according to Product Design and Development.
"Under the application of a weak static magnetic field, this ring-shaped ion crystal will begin a rotation that will never stop. The persistent rotation of trapped ions produces temporal order, leading to the formation of a space-time crystal at the lowest quantum energy state," added Zhang.
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