Connecting the two “time crystals” of the helium-3 superfluid just one thousandth above absolute zero could be a major step towards a new kind of quantum computer.
Time crystals are a strange structure of atoms, their existence was predicted only in 2012, and experimentally proved several years later. In ordinary crystals such as diamonds and salts, the atoms are arranged in a regularly repeating spatial pattern (lattice or similar framework). And, like most materials, they stop shaking when the atoms are in the ground state (the lowest possible energy level).
On the other hand, a time crystal is composed of atoms that oscillate and rotate back and forth, repeating in time, not in space, even in the ground state. They do not require an input of energy and can sustain this movement permanently without losing energy in the process.
Related: Another world “time crystal” created within Google’s quantum computer has the potential to change physics forever
By doing so, these time crystals entropy.. The second law of thermodynamics describes entropy, how the system grows chaotically over time. As an example, consider the orbits of the surrounding planets. Sun.. For simplicity, we imagine they move in clockwork order and always return to the same place at the same time in each orbit. But in reality, things are awkward. gravity Stars on or through other planets can pull and pull on planets, causing subtle changes in their orbits.
Therefore, Planetary orbit It’s essentially chaotic. Making small changes to one can have a big impact on all of them. The system becomes chaotic over time — the entropy of the system increases.
Time crystals can counteract the effects of entropy due to a quantum mechanical principle known as “localization of many objects”. When one atom of a time crystal feels force, it affects only that atom. Therefore, changes are considered localized (system-wide) rather than global. As a result, the system does not become chaotic and, in theory, can continue to vibrate repeatedly.
“Everyone knows that perpetual motion is impossible,” said Samri Oti, a researcher at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom and a lecturer in physics. statement.. “But in quantum physics, permanent motion is fine as long as you close your eyes.”
Oti, who led the study, mentions Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. This implies how the quantum wavefunction collapses when the quantum system is observed and measured. Due to its quantum mechanical properties, time crystals can operate with 100% efficiency only if they are completely isolated from the environment. This requirement limits the amount of time that they can be observed until they collapse completely as a result of the wave function collapse.
However, Autti’s team succeeded in connecting the two time crystals with a large amount of cooling. Helium-3, Helium isotope. Helium-3 becomes superfluid when cooled above absolute zero (minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit or minus 273 degrees Celsius), making isotopes superfluid, which is not possible with many materials. It’s special. Since superfluidity has zero viscosity, friction does not lose kinetic energy and allows atomic-like motion in time crystals to continue indefinitely.
Next, Autumni’s team working at Aalto University in Finland manipulated the helium-3 atom to create two interacting time crystals. In addition, they observed this time crystal pairing in a record time of about 1,000 seconds (about 17 minutes). This corresponds to the vibration or rotational motion of an atom with billions of cycles before the wave function of the time crystal decays.
“We found that combining the two worked,” Oti said.
Findings create a promising research line for developing fully functional ones Quantum computer.. Whereas a normal computer bit is binary (1 or 0, on or off) Quantum computer It is much faster because it utilizes a “cubit” that can turn 1s and 0s on and off at the same time. One way to build a quantum computer is to link a myriad of time crystals, each designed to act as a qubit. Therefore, this first experiment linking two time crystals created the basic building blocks of a quantum computer.
Previous experiments have already shown that some time crystals do not need to be cooled to near absolute zero and can operate at room temperature, making crystal construction even easier. According to Oti’s team, the next task is to demonstrate that logic gate operations, a feature that allows computers to process information, can work between two or more time crystals.
The study was published in the journal on June 2nd. Nature Communications (Opens in a new tab)..
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