January 27, 2023

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Develop time crystals for use in real-world applications

Time crystals that persist indefinitely at room temperature can have applications in precise timekeeping.

We’ve all seen crystals, whether it’s a grain of salt or sugar, or an elaborate and beautiful amethyst. These crystals consist of atoms or molecules that repeat in a symmetrical three-dimensional pattern called a lattice, where the atoms occupy certain points in space. By forming a periodic lattice, the carbon atoms in diamond, for example, break the symmetry of the space they are sitting in. Physicists call this “symmetry breaking.”

Scientists recently discovered that a similar effect can be seen in time. Symmetry breaking, as the name implies, can only appear if some kind of symmetry is present. In the time domain, a periodically changing force or power source naturally produces a time pattern.

Symmetry breaking occurs when a system driven by this force experiences a déjà vu moment, but Not With the same period of strength. ‘Time crystals’ have been pursued in the past decade as a new phase of matter, and have recently been observed under complex experimental conditions in isolated systems. These experiments require extremely low temperatures or other stringent conditions to minimize unwanted external influences.

For scientists to learn more about time crystals and harness their potential in technology, they need to find ways to produce and keep time crystal states stable outside of the laboratory.

Cutting-edge research led by the University of California at Riverside was published this week in Nature Communications Now notice the time crystals in a system that is not isolated from its surroundings. This major achievement brings scientists one step closer to developing time crystals for use in real-world applications.

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“When your experimental system has an energy exchange with its surroundings, dissipation and noise work in tandem to destroy the temporal order,” said lead author Hossein Taheri, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Marlan and Rosemary Burns. College of Engineering. “In our optical platform, the system strikes a balance between gain and loss for creating and maintaining time crystals.”

Advancing the idea put forward by Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek a decade ago, a team of researchers led by University of California Riverside associate professor Hossein Taheri has demonstrated new time crystals that persist indefinitely at room temperature, despite the noise and energy loss. .

All-photonic time crystallization is achieved using a disk-shaped magnesium fluoride glass resonator with a diameter of one millimeter. When two laser beams were bombarded, the researchers observed sub-harmonic spikes, or frequency tones between the two laser beams, indicating a break in time symmetry and the creation of time crystals.

The UCR-led team used a technology called a laser self-injection lock in the resonator to achieve durability against environmental influences. The time-repetition state signatures of this system can easily be measured in the frequency domain. The proposed platform thus simplifies the study of this new phase of the question.

Without the need for a lower temperature, the system can be moved outside a complex laboratory for field applications. One such application can be very accurate measurements of time. Because repetition and time are a mathematical reflection of each other,[{” attribute=””>accuracy in measuring frequency enables accurate time measurement.

“We hope that this photonic system can be utilized in compact and lightweight radiofrequency sources with superior stability as well as in precision timekeeping,” said Taheri.

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Reference: “All-optical dissipative discrete time crystals” by Hossein Taheri, Andrey B. Matsko, Lute Maleki and Krzysztof Sacha, 14 February 2022, Nature Communications.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-28462-x

Taheri was joined in the research by Andrey B. Matsko at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lute Maleki at OEwaves Inc. in Pasadena, Calif., and Krzysztof Sacha at Jagiellonian University in Poland.