Develop time crystals for use in real applications

Time crystals, which are stored indefinitely at room temperature, can be used in accurate timing.

We’ve all seen crystals, whether it’s a simple grain of salt or sugar, or a delicious and beautiful amethyst. These crystals are made up of atoms or molecules that are repeated in a symmetrical three-dimensional pattern called a lattice in which atoms occupy certain points in space. Forming a periodic lattice, the carbon atoms in a diamond, for example, break the symmetry of the space in which they sit. Physicists call this a “symmetry violation.”

Recently, scientists have found that a similar effect can be seen over time. Violation of symmetry, as the name implies, can occur only where there is some symmetry. In a time domain, a cyclically changing force or energy source naturally creates a time pattern.

A symmetry break occurs when a system controlled by such a force collides with a moment of deja vu, but no with the same period as in force. “Crystals of time” have been viewed as a new phase of matter in the last decade, and have recently been observed in complex experimental conditions in isolated systems. These experiments require extremely low temperatures or other harsh conditions to minimize unwanted external influences.

For scientists to learn more about time crystals and harness their potential in technology, they need to find ways to obtain temporary crystalline states and maintain their stability outside the lab.

Advanced research led by UC Riverside and published this week in The nature of communication now observed time crystals in a system that is not isolated from the environment. This major achievement brings scientists one step closer to developing time crystals for use in real-world applications.

“If your experimental system has an energy exchange with the environment, scattering and noise work hand in hand to destroy the temporary order,” said lead author Hossein Taheri, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Riverside Marlan and Rosemary Borns. College of Engineering. “In our photon platform, the system provides a balance between gain and loss to create and preserve time crystals.”

Advancing Nobel Prize winner Frank Wilczek ten years ago, a team of researchers led by assistant professor at Riverside University Hossein Taheri is showcasing new time crystals that persist indefinitely at room temperature despite noise and energy loss.

A fully optical time crystal is implemented using a disk glass magnesium fluoride resonator with a diameter of one millimeter. When bombarding two laser beams, the researchers observed subharmonic jumps, or frequency tones between the two laser beams, which indicated a violation of temporal symmetry and the formation of time crystals.

The UCR-led team used a technique called blocking two lasers in a resonator to achieve environmental resistance. Signatures of the temporary repetitive state of this system can be easily measured in the frequency domain. Thus, the proposed platform simplifies the study of this new phase of matter.

Without the need for low temperatures, the system can be moved beyond a sophisticated laboratory for field applications. One such application could be high-precision time measurement. Since frequency and time are mathematically inverse to each other,[{” attribute=””>accuracy in measuring frequency enables accurate time measurement.

“We hope that this photonic system can be utilized in compact and lightweight radiofrequency sources with superior stability as well as in precision timekeeping,” said Taheri.

Reference: “All-optical dissipative discrete time crystals” by Hossein Taheri, Andrey B. Matsko, Lute Maleki and Krzysztof Sacha, 14 February 2022, Nature Communications.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-28462-x

Taheri was joined in the research by Andrey B. Matsko at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lute Maleki at OEwaves Inc. in Pasadena, Calif., and Krzysztof Sacha at Jagiellonian University in Poland. Develop time crystals for use in real applications

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