Developers Envision a Space Time Crystal for Eternity

This device could deliver groundbreaking insight into physics and will be able to keep the correct time until after the universe dies.

The projected crystal will be a 4D construct that is characterized by a periodic structure in time as well as space. If built, scientists hope they will be able to study the properties and behaviors during interactions of large numbers of particles, which is commonly known as the many-body problem in physics. There is also the vision that a space time crystal would be useful to dive deeper into quantum physics, including particle entanglement over close and far distances.

Xiang Zhang, a faculty scientistwith Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division who led the space time crystal research, explained that "the electric field of an ion trap holds charged particles in place and Coulomb repulsion causes them to spontaneously form a spatial ring crystal". He added: "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."

Since this crystal is already at its lowest quantum energy state, its time keeping will persist for eternity even until the universe reaches its "heat-death", the scientists said. Despite its continued motion, the scientists said that the crystal would not represent a perpetuum mobile as the structures does not deliver energy.

According to Zhang, the "main challenge" in creating the crystal "will be to cool an ion ring to its ground state." He believes that this will be possible "in the near future with the development of ion trap technologies."

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  • vittau
    I can't even understand what this is, or what purpose it has, but yay for science!!
  • beayn
    vittauI can't even understand what this is, or what purpose it has, but yay for science!!Uh something about a crystal, ions and keeping time for a long time. I don't get it either. Saying it was 4D made me think it was a joke for a minute, since I once convinced a know-it-all that the next nVidia card was going to be 4D instead of 3D and would be infinitely fast since it worked with time.
  • SteelCity1981
    So in other words i'll never have to worry about my watch dying and replacing the batteries ever again? :)
  • husker
    If the object is 4D, then it exists partly in the current time and partly in the future/past. This is different from something that is 3D and simply moving through time (as we all do) because it is never fully in any one time, as we are.
  • atavanhalen00
    Does it mean that they can make a watch thingy that never loses a second! or a zero energy watch thingy that will never go out.
  • QEFX
    The 1st part of my TARDIS.
  • Gundam288
    atavanhalen00Does it mean that they can make a watch thingy that never loses a second! or a zero energy watch thingy that will never go out.

    It's mainly that they can make a clock that will never be off. even atomic clocks are off by a very small fraction of a second after 1,000's of years.

    From just skimming it, they apperently want to have it "Predict" the time it will be rather than tell what the current time is, which is what all or most clocks that we use in a day to day basis. At least that is how I understand it.

    If they solve the Ion trap problem and build it, we might be able to expect this to be in our watchs/clocks in 100 years after the 1st one is built, provided tech. keeps going to way it is today by my best guess.

    But I think the bigger question should be. Will the general pop. even be using a watch when they build the 1st one? Not many people use watches anymore (I think I'm one of the rare few who still do, at least from what I've seen), I'm seeing more and more people use their phones as watches and calanders, among other things.

    Who knows, maybe sometime in the future, phones will be worn like watches and have a holographic interactive display.
  • ummm...accurate time keeping like this could provide could be usefull for all kinds of technology, computers, GPS, all kinds of research and so on. What its NOT relevant for is a wrist watch used to tell when its lunch time geez
  • murzar
    Can it run Crysis?
  • nieur
    Even if I don't understand quantum physics. All the Science related stuff amazes me
    Respect for all the scientist around the globe