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‘Time crystals’ created in two new types of materials

These crystals repeat their patterns at regular time intervals, not distances

By
7:00am, May 4, 2018
illustration of timer

TIME AFTER TIME  Scientists have created time crystals in two new types of materials. These crystals have patterns that repeat over regular time intervals, just as the arrangements of atoms in everyday crystals repeat periodically in space.

It was only a matter of time.

A weird form of matter called a time crystal has made an appearance in two more types of materials, doubling the number of known time crystal habitats. In a typical crystal, its arrangement of atoms regularly repeats in space, such as the alternating sodium and chloride ions that make up a salt crystal. But time crystals’ patterns repeat themselves at regular time intervals. 

A team of scientists created a time crystal in a solid material called monoammonium phosphate, the researchers report in both the May 4 Physical Review Letters and the May 1 Physical Review B. Another team made its time crystal in a type of liquid containing star-shaped molecules, according to a study

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