You may have heard of healing crystals or decorative/jewellery crystals but in the world of science, crystals take on a whole new meaning. Space and time can feel random at times and trying to find order in the chaos is a huge challenge, but many believe crystals may hold the answer. Ever since 2012 physics Nobel Prize winner Frank Wilczek revealed a symmetry in the matter of time, scientists have been looking for materials where it can be observed.
Now, a group of scientists have successfully managed to create a micrometer-sized space-time crystal made of magnons.
The exciting part is that it can stay at room temperature as well. Using ultra-precise X-ray microscope, the team even captured recurring periodic magnetization structure.
For some background, crystal can be any solid with atoms or molecules are regularly arranged in a particular structure. These molecules, when observed under a microscope, have regular repetitions; not only in space but in time.The time-crystals predicted by Wilczek were theoretical at the time. Their existence was first established in 2017. But the crystal was tiny and could sustain only below 250 degreeCelsius.
“We took the regularly recurring pattern of magnons in space and time, sent more magnons in, and they eventually scattered. Thus, we were able to show that the time crystal can interact with other quasiparticles,” said Nick Träger, one of the authors. He said this sort of thing has never been observed before, let alone be filmed in a video.
They used a strip of magnetic material on a microscopic antenna and sent a radio-frequency current. The oscillations created a magnetic field — this in turn stimulated the magnons (which is the quasiparticle spin of an electron wave). The quantum effect is observed as a pattern which regularly disappears and reappears on its own. They observed high-resolution wavefront formations.
“It can even do so at up to 40 billion frames per second and with extremely high sensitivity to magnetic phenomena as well,” the author added. This breakthrough can result in a lot of potential revolutions in the fields of “communication, radar or imaging technology” according to Joachim Gräfe, another one of the authors.