Time crystal system could hold secret to quantum computing revolution

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EXCERPTS: . . . scientists have created the first-ever time crystal two-body system – and it may have some incredible implications for the future of quantum computing.

In a paper published today in the journal Nature Communications, researchers from the UK, Russia, and Finland described how they created two time crystals inside a superfluid – in this case, a rare isotope of helium, cooled to about one ten-thousandth of a degree from absolute zero – and brought them together to touch each other, creating a coupled system that relies not on classical physics, but quantum rules.

“It turns out putting two of them together works beautifully,” explained EPSRC Fellow Dr Samuli Autti, lead author of the study. “Even if time crystals should not exist in the first place.”

[...] a normal, non-time crystal – something like an emerald or a snowflake – is defined by its regular, repeating atomic structure. A diamond, for instance, looks ... extremely symmetrical – no matter where you are in the space of the structure, the pattern will be identical. And time crystals are the same – except that the structure doesn’t repeat in space, but in time.

This is the way of understanding time crystals where their name makes perfect sense: they’re the time analog of a normal crystal. [...] a time crystal isn’t really a crystal at all – at least, not how we’re used to thinking of them. It’s a new phase of matter, simultaneously stable and in constant evolution at the same time, and always periodically coming back to the same pattern.

And that … shouldn’t make sense. “Everybody knows that perpetual motion machines are impossible,” Autti said. “However, in quantum physics perpetual motion is okay as long as we keep our eyes closed.”

[...] But the creation of a time crystal two-body system is more than just a way to cheat the laws of physics. The basic building block of a quantum computer – widely considered the next big leap in computation – is something called a “two level system”: a quantum system that exists in a superposition of two independent quantum states. And that’s exactly what the researchers have constructed: “In our experiments, two coupled time crystals consisting of spin-wave quasiparticles … form a macroscopic two-level system,” the paper explains.

“The two levels evolve in time as determined intrinsically by a nonlinear feedback, allowing us to construct spontaneous two-level dynamics,” the authors continue. “[The] magnon time crystals allow access to every aspect and detail of quantum-coherent interactions in a single run of the experiment.”

[...] the discovery of this two-body system may provide a way to make quantum computers that can work without the supercooling.... (MORE - missing details)

VIDEO: Do time crystals violate the laws of physics? Frank Wilczek and Lex Fridman

The strange world of time crystals ... https://youtu.be/a4wJyPwyEQk


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