Physicists discover elusive time crystal in a child’s toy

A group of physicists from Yale University was surprised to uncover hints of time crystal in children’s crystal growing kit. Their discovery opens more relevant questions on how time crystals are exactly formed. Crystals such as salt or quartz contain atoms that are arranged in a repeating process. Time crystals, on the other hand, contain atoms that would only spin in different directions when there is a pulsating force that compelled them. More puzzling is that the compelling force or the ticking of atoms in a time crystal happens at a particular frequency or what is known as the quantum memory. Time crystal was first identified as a new form of matter in 2016. However, its actual formation remains elusive up to now.

The study, performed by a team of physicists from Yale University, uncovered an obvious sign of what they call as a discrete time crystal in a solid or DTC. Sean Barrett, the principal investigator for the study and professor at Yale, explains that his student had already created crystals called the monoammonium phosphate or MAP. MAP crystals are practically easy to grow. These are the type of crystals found in children’s crystal growing kits that are sold everywhere. Before their study, the physicists thought that it would be unusual to find time crystal signature, especially DTC, from these kits. It was previously assumed that time crystals only formed in a disorderly manner.