Scientists from Yel discovered unique crystals of time in a regular children's toy

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<pre>Scientists from Yel discovered unique crystals of time in a regular children's toy

Professor Frank Wilczek in 2012 described a model of a new form of matter, which he called the “crystal of time”. Theoretical works of the Nobel Prize winner in physics were practically confirmed in 2016 when in the laboratory in Berkeley it was possible to obtain such a crystal. And recently, scientists from Yale University made a discovery – there is a lot of this matter in the world, it is even in the children's set for growing crystals.

The time crystal got its name because its crystal lattice remains stable not only in space, but also in time. In the usual case, during the formation of the crystal, the heated atoms of matter transfer energy to each other until the system reaches thermal equilibrium. A stable, fixed structure is formed, which does not change with time. And the time crystal, on the contrary, “moves” and is very active, but it does not collapse.

The movements of atoms occur at a certain constant interval, which resembles the way in which the layers of atoms lie at a fixed distance from each other. Although atoms can move with a large amplitude, these oscillations never lead to the destruction of the lattice, it returns to its original state. And this does not depend on the force applied to the crystal, and it itself does not generate energy during internal motions. Absolutely unique kind of matter.

The team of researchers began searching for monoammonium phosphate crystals, which grow so quickly that they are convenient for use in children's educational sets. And immediately with the help of nuclear magnetic resonance they found not the crystal of time itself, but the signs of its existence, the so-called “quantum echo”. This fundamentally changes the matter – in Berkeley's laboratory, very specific conditions have been created to produce the crystal, but what if they can appear naturally in nature? There is still no conclusion yet, scientists still have a lot of work to do.

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