There is a huge global effort to engineer a computer capable of harnessing the power of quantum physics to carry out computations of unprecedented complexity. While formidable technological obstacles still stand in the way of creating such a quantum computer, today’s early prototypes are still capable of remarkable feats.
For example, the creation of a new phase of matter called a “time crystal.” Just as a crystal’s structure repeats in space, a time crystal repeats in time and, importantly, does so infinitely and without any further input of energy – like a clock that runs forever without any batteries. The quest to realize this phase of matter has been a longstanding challenge in theory and experiment – one that has now finally come to fruition.
In research published on November 30, 2021, in the journal Nature, a team of scientists from Stanford University, Google Quantum AI, the Max Planck Institute for Physics of Complex Systems and Oxford University detail their creation of a time crystal using Google’s Sycamore quantum computing hardware.