Scientists are reporting on the creation of a phase of matter, in which atoms move in a pattern that repeats in time rather than in space, named Time Crystals. Time Crystals are the first of its kind; it is an exotic state of matter that combines the inflexibility of an ordinary crystal with a regular rhythm in time.
Researchers are excited to continue exploring this new state of matter because it is the first example of a new class of matter known as nonequilibrium. One that never settles down into what is called a thermal equilibrium state, where they all have the same amount of heat.
“This opens the door to a whole new world of nonequilibrium phases,” says Andrew Potter, an assistant professor of physics at The University of Texas at Austin. “We’ve taken these theoretical ideas that we’ve been poking around for the last couple of years and actually built it in the laboratory. Hopefully, this is just the first example of these, with many more to come.”
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