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Successful breakthrough: The Germans create a super-powerful time crystal

Successful breakthrough: The Germans create a super-powerful time crystal

Extremely powerful“In the world of quantum physics, this often means that a phenomenon can be sustained for seconds rather than milliseconds. This is what made the German researchers' announcement that there are at least so-called time crystals all the more surprising.” 40 minutes We can observe for a long time. this 10 million times Longer than you could handle before, they write in one Broadcasting.

The theory of time crystals only appeared in 2012

Time crystals are a relatively new phenomenon, first appearing in 2012 Nobel laureate in physics Frank Wilczek I was born. His idea: While the atomic structure of crystals repeats itself over and over again—in a three-dimensional crystal lattice—time crystals also repeat themselves in the fourth dimension: time.

If you look closely, the so-called changes wraps Atomic nuclei, electrons, or photons. Simply put, this describes whether the magnetic north/south pole points up or down. This rotation can be reversed by passing the atomic particle through one Laser or radio pulse It is stimulated. Re-excitation leads to another spin reversal, and so on. In order to change the spin, the particle had to be periodically stirred.

A continuous time crystal is usually very short-lived

In 2022, physicists were able to create a continuous time crystal for the first time. This was continuously excited and its rotation changed in a certain period of time. However, the lifetime of the crystal is only a little milliseconds.

Researchers in Technical University Dortmund I succeeded now breakthrough. Your continuous time crystal is sturdy and durable. This is the basis for it Common semiconductor material Indium gallium arsenide, where foreign silicon atoms were introduced. Then the material was placed 6 Kelvin (-267°C) and exposed to a magnetic field. The atoms were then continuously excited using a laser beam.

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Atomic nuclei began tosign“They changed everyone.” 6.9 seconds spin. A periodic time crystal was born. The crystal frequency remained constant even when the strength and direction of the magnetic field changed. The experiment lasted 40 minutes, but it was too long according to the researchers Longer time periods maybe. Only when the temperature rises 17 Kelvin The time crystal “melted”.

Why do you need a time crystal?

What can these time crystals be used for? For example as a frequency transmitter for Atomic clockswhich also means GPS accuracy It can be improved. As the crystals while ticking No absorption or loss of energyThey are considered particularly resistant to temperature fluctuations (assuming it is not so hot that they “melt”). This means that time crystals apparently contradict the second law of thermodynamics, since a periodic change of state always occurs with a Loss of energy Therefore it must end at some point.

However, it is still possible that there is a practical use for time crystals Contracts Stay away. Currently creating time crystals serves the primary purpose of researching them and also finding other potential uses.

➤ Read more: The US military wants to build ultra-precise atomic clocks for aircraft