Washington: Scientists have proposed to build the first ever 4D space-time crystal clock that they claim will keep accurate time forever, even after the heat-death of the universe.

This is the “wow” factor behind a device known as a “space-time crystal,” a four-dimensional crystal that has periodic structure in time as well as space, scientists said.

Researcher Xiang Zhang from Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, who led this research, and his group, have come up with an experimental design to build a crystal that is discrete both in space and time- a space-time crystal

However, there are also practical and important scientific reasons for constructing a space-time crystal.

Pic used for representational purposes only.

With such a 4-D crystal, scientists would have a new and more effective means to study how complex physical properties and behaviors emerge from the collective interactions of large numbers of individual particles.

A space-time crystal could also be used to study phenomena in the quantum world, such as entanglement, in which an action on one particle impacts another particle even if the two particles are separated by vast distances, scientists said.

Scientists from the US Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has proposed the experimental design of a space-time crystal based on an electric-field ion trap and the Coulomb repulsion of particles that carry the same electrical charge.

The concept of a crystal that has discrete order in time was proposed earlier this year by Frank Wilczek, the Nobel-prize winning physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

While Wilczek mathematically proved that a time crystal can exist, how to physically realize such a time crystal was unclear.


Publish date: September 26, 2012 1:51 pm| Modified date: September 26, 2012 1:51 pm

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