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Physicists Propose "Perpetual Motion" Time Crystals

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the four-harmonic-corner-days dept.

Science 153

First time accepted submitter b30w0lf writes "It is commonly understood that crystals exist in a state of matter that is periodic in space. Meanwhile, relativistic physics tells us that we should think of time as being a physical dimension, given similar status to the other spacial dimensions. The combination of these two ideas has lead researchers at the University of Kentucky and MIT to propose special manifestations of matter which would be periodic in both space and time, dubbed 'time crystals.' Time crystals would continually transition between a set of physical states in a kind of perpetual motion. Note: the articles stress that this kind of perpetual motion in no way violates the established laws of thermodynamics. While time crystals remain theoretical, methods have been proposed for creating them. The most obvious application of time crystals is the creation of very precise clocks; however, other applications to time crystals have been proposed, ranging from quantum computing to helping us understand certain cosmological models."

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153 comments

Doc Brown had it all wrong... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664519)

So it should have been flux time crystals, not the flux capacitor...

Now, where's that Delorean???

Re:Doc Brown had it all wrong... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664571)

Found it!
Here you go [dupontregistry.com].

As a finder's fee, please share tomorrow's winning lotto numbers.

Re:Doc Brown had it all wrong... (2)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | about a year and a half ago | (#41664785)

It was some combination of 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 and 9s.

Re:Doc Brown had it all wrong... (1)

cas2000 (148703) | about a year and a half ago | (#41664853)

There's only one way to defeat such awesome predictive powers...lotteries are going to have to start using hexadecimal.

Re:Doc Brown had it all wrong... (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41665549)

Or zeroes.

Re:Doc Brown had it all wrong... (4, Funny)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#41666099)

Blasphemer! This new concept of zero is a heresy against Ra!

Too soon?

Re:Doc Brown had it all wrong... (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about a year and a half ago | (#41666267)

My hovel for a Slashdot admin account. You'd be +15 Hilarious and -10 Buy Me Another Dr. Pepper and Keyboard!

Re:Doc Brown had it all wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664591)

Maybe Doc had it right. Many capacitors use crystal for their dialectic medium.

Re:Doc Brown had it all wrong... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664719)

Maybe Doc had it right. Many capacitors use crystal for their dialectic medium.

Crystals are periodic in space. Fluctuations of EM in an oscillating dielectric crystal is periodic in time...

In short: The Flux Capacitor IS a Time Crystal.

Re:Doc Brown had it all wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664615)

Perhaps the flux capacitor has a temporal crystalline structure? That, or the year 1985 did...

Now, where's that Delorean???

If you lost yours, they are popular enough that you can still buy them new or refurbished (at least here in Texas). They've got electric models too. [delorean.com]

Re:Doc Brown had it all wrong... (1)

The Snowman (116231) | about a year and a half ago | (#41664681)

No, time crystals -- no flux involved. Just like in Napolean Dynamite, when Napolean and Uncle Rico electrocuted their balls on the time machine.

Re:Doc Brown had it all wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41665057)

If you reverse the polarity, do they stop forever?

Time crysals. What Timecubes are made of (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664557)

http://www.timecube.com/

It'll make lots of sense (4, Funny)

future assassin (639396) | about a year and a half ago | (#41664595)

I'm sure when I re-read it after smoking a couple of joints.

Re:It'll make lots of sense (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664677)

nope, way ahead of ya mate.
Vodka's not working either.

Attention Radical Free Software Leftists! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664597)

Obama has invented perpetual money! It's yours! Vote Obama and help him to steal the rest of it all!

Don't argue! Vote Statist today!

Re:Attention Radical Free Software Leftists! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664631)

Hey Jerk, Romney devoted almost 60% of his income to charity last year, what did lord Obama donate huh?

http://washingtonexaminer.com/taxes-charity-cost-romney-57.9-percent-of-income/article/2510746

"With President Obama expected to use his second-chance debate this week to portray Mitt Romney as an uncaring rich guy, a new analysis of the GOP candidate's wealth shows that the millionaire was so generous that he kept just 42 percent of his income."

Obama wants to donate YOUR money, not his. Get it?

Re:Attention Radical Free Software Leftists! (0)

dreamchaser (49529) | about a year and a half ago | (#41664671)

Whoosh. That was the sound of the GP's sarcasm flying over your head.

Re:Attention Radical Free Software Leftists! (0, Offtopic)

mcrbids (148650) | about a year and a half ago | (#41664675)

Not that we're on topic or anything, but most of the money Romney donated to "charity" was to his church, which gives almost nothing to the poor, but spends an incredible amount of money to send their young members to knock on your door.

Think about that next time you answer the door and see them. Again.

Re:Attention Radical Free Software Leftists! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664715)

Excuse me I asked you a question, how much did Obama donate?

We all understand that Romney donated his own money. You think they give almost nothing to the poor? You cannot support that. I assert that the state does nothing but create more poor people and I *can* support that. Have you ever heard of the unemployment number published by the BLS? Well lord Obama has done nothing for the poor but to create more of them.

Any other questions genius?

Re:Attention Radical Free Software Leftists! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664815)

What's hilarious is that blue states by and large subsidize red states. Hey Alabama, how do you like those roads and welfare California paid for? The political climate in this country is so screwy that you basically have one set of Americans (blue states) saying 'hey rural poor people we really want to help you out by paying taxes for basic needs like infrastructure and food' and red states saying 'damn communist let us live in third world conditions'. Well, it'd be hilarious if it wasn't so fucked up.

Re:Attention Radical Free Software Leftists! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664907)

I really have to ask you to explain this, California is broke, New York is broke, Illinois is broke, need I go on?

No one is subsidizing roads in Alabama, do you think that people in Alabama do not pay taxes?

The whole damn country is 16 TRILLION in debt! I am broke, you are broke.

And Obama wants to make you broker!

So what the bloody hell are you even talking about?

Re:Attention Radical Free Software Leftists! (-1, Offtopic)

pellik (193063) | about a year and a half ago | (#41665047)

You can't break what's already broke.

Re:Attention Radical Free Software Leftists! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41665235)

Oh really? Someone tell that to Obama.

Re:Attention Radical Free Software Leftists! (0, Offtopic)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#41665349)

Alabama receives more for roads than Alabama pays for roads. Someone is subsidizing roads in AL. The fact your math is bad doesn't change the facts.

Re:Attention Radical Free Software Leftists! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41665465)

> And Obama wants to make you broker!

Why would he want to do that? Seriously, what is his motivation supposed to be for intentionally bankrupting the country?

What motivation would he have that couldn't easily apply to the GOP as well?

I'm not crazy about Obama's direction, but get real.

Re:Attention Radical Free Software Leftists! (4, Insightful)

GoogleShill (2732413) | about a year and a half ago | (#41665533)

What he's saying is accurate. States which typically vote Republican are the states which contribute the least in Federal taxes, but receive the most in Federal aid.

http://taxfoundation.org/blog/why-do-some-states-feast-federal-spending-not-others [taxfoundation.org]

As for your disillusioned Obama comment... He wants to make people pay their fair share of taxes while Romney wants the middle class to "distribute" their wealth up the chain so it lands in some dudes bank account, not helping the economy at all. Spending money helps the economy, hoarding it doesn't.

Re:Attention Radical Free Software Leftists! (1, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#41665345)

To charity? More than Mitt. Mitt donated to a big business that isn't a "charity" in any sense of the word, other than tax write off.

I am a Mormon. You are incorrect (2)

portforward (313061) | about a year and a half ago | (#41666085)

Please before you repeat your misinformation, this is an article from a website called Philanthropy Round Table. The article is called

A Welfare System That Works
The Latter-day Saints are proving that private citizens can support a vast and effective social welfare system.

http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/a_welfare_system_that_works [philanthro...dtable.org]

Please understand that we have very, very few employees. Almost all of the funds that go into the church go to buildings, the universities, missionary work and charity. It is a common misconception that many people repeat. I had a responsibility in our local congregation and I saw the checks coming in and out. We helped people with rent, electricity, water and medical bills. Some people went to what we call the "Bishop's storehouse" which is kind of like a grocery store where you don't pay for the food.

Seriously, before you say things about the LDS church, first check with a member first. We HAVE to tell you the truth. If we lie, we go to hell. : )

Re:I am a Mormon. You are incorrect (2)

blackwizard (62282) | about a year and a half ago | (#41666543)

OK, just wondering. Is it a members-only charity? Can I walk in [as an atheist] and receive benefits?

Re:Attention Radical Free Software Leftists! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41665431)

The "young members" pay for themselves to go door knocking.

You are incorrect about how money is spent by the (2)

portforward (313061) | about a year and a half ago | (#41666105)

LDS church. Missionaries are mostly self funded. Also, the church has a well recognized welfare system. In fact, there was just an article about the LDS charitable system in a website called "Philanthropy Roundtable"

A Welfare System That Works
The Latter-day Saints are proving that private citizens can support a vast and effective social welfare system.

http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/a_welfare_system_that_works [philanthro...dtable.org]

The LDS church doesn't have a professional clergy, and in fact has relatively few employees. Most of the funds go to buildings, the universities, and charities. Before repeating the common misconception that the LDS church doesn't act as a charity, you should ask a Mormon first.

Re:Attention Radical Free Software Leftists! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664813)

Please post your home address, so I can come show you how
to eat the shit I am about to take just for you, you fascist moron
Mormon fuck.

Re:Attention Radical Free Software Leftists! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664881)

"Mormon fuck."

Of course, the intellectual capacity of the leftist drone on full display.

Thank you for proving my point.

Re:Attention Radical Free Software Leftists! (2)

drkim (1559875) | about a year and a half ago | (#41666017)

"Mormon fuck."

Of course, the intellectual capacity of the leftist drone on full display.

Thank you for proving my point.

You left out:

"...moron Mormon fuck."

Let's give him credit for cute alliteration.

Hmm... well, be careful (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664605)

Wouldn't want any unforeseen consequences.

Oh No (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664607)

This is how it starts. First we get some time crystals, then the next thing you know some asshole is creating a race of genetically engineered aliens to destroy earth by manipulating the time stream.

Re:Oh No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664865)

You're right, its time to split

The are blue (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664611)

They glow, and can be found on the moon.

They do not propose "Perpetual Motion" (5, Informative)

KBentley57 (2017780) | about a year and a half ago | (#41664613)

If one reads the article, in the last paragraph the statement occurs: "Time crystals may sound dangerously close to a perpetual motion machine, but it is worth emphasizing one key difference: while time crystals would indeed move periodically in an eternal loop, rotation occurs in the ground state, with no work being carried out nor any usable energy being extracted from the system." They aren't proposing "mechanical perpetual motion" like we are probably all thinking at first glance. The crystal isn't doing anything abnormal. No energy is to be gained from the system, so at least mechanically, nothing is happening.

It's like Seinfeld. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664717)

A energy state about nothing.

Re:They do not propose "Perpetual Motion" (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41665183)

Perpetual motion is one of Newton's Laws: an object in motion tends to stay in motion.

Re:They do not propose "Perpetual Motion" (4, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#41665365)

so at least mechanically, nothing is happening.

It's like calling electrons around a proton a "perpetual motion machine". You get perpetual motion, so long as you don't extract energy from it. In fact, from that definition, the heat death of the universe is itself a perpetual motion machine, as everything will be vibrating/moving in entropy. No work may be extracted.

Re:They do not propose "Perpetual Motion" (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about a year and a half ago | (#41665507)

so at least mechanically, nothing is happening.

It's like calling electrons around a proton a "perpetual motion machine". You get perpetual motion, so long as you don't extract energy from it. In fact, from that definition, the heat death of the universe is itself a perpetual motion machine, as everything will be vibrating/moving in entropy. No work may be extracted.

By that definition everything is a perpetual motion machine.

Re:They do not propose "Perpetual Motion" (3, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year and a half ago | (#41666055)

That is literally the meaning of perpetual motion. What they don't claim is free energy.

I have hope! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664667)

While time crystals remain theoretical, ....

So was the Higgs boson at one time.

Maybe they'll create or discover these in my lifetime.

Metaphysics for 1000 (1)

Empiric (675968) | about a year and a half ago | (#41664711)

Could the postulated cyclic evolution of the Universe be seen as a manifestation of spontaneous symmetry breaking akin to that of a time crystal? If so, who is the observer inducing--by a measurement--the breaking of the symmetry of time?

Salome?

Jesus said, "Two will rest on a bed: the one will die, and the other will live."
Salome said, "Who are you, man, that you ... have come up on my couch and eaten from my table?"
Jesus said to her, "I am he who exists from the undivided. I was given some of the things of my Father."
"I am your disciple."
"Therefore I say, if he is destroyed, he will be filled with light, but if he is divided, he will be filled with darkness."


--Thomas


Come on, you know a cat would be among the least-interesting things to have in the superposition box.

Re:Metaphysics for 1000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41665121)

Dafuq?

why stop at time crystals? (3, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year and a half ago | (#41664735)

why not build a time cube?

i know of a distinguished scientist who has spoken at numerous universities, including MIT, on his groundbreaking work in this area:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Cube#Public_reaction [wikipedia.org]

note: if you visit http://timecube.com/ [timecube.com] for the first time in a decade, like i just did, you discover that gene ray has been experimenting with javascript, but i don't think he got the effect he was looking for. i think he is trying to profit from clicks, but i think he mangled the code and you get a page redirect whenever you try to load his site. i guess deep knowledge of time cubez does not translate into mad html skillz

You can't read it (without other power) (3, Informative)

Sarusa (104047) | about a year and a half ago | (#41664759)

One key point that makes it not a free energy machine is that you can't actually read it or otherwise do anything useful with it (nor can it do anything) without spending extra external energy.

And in any normal situation, like sitting in a room on Earth, you might even have to spend energy keeping it undisturbed by things like thermal jostling (i.e., cooled to near absolute zero).

Re:You can't read it (without other power) (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664883)

One key point that makes it not a free energy machine is that you can't actually read it or otherwise do anything useful with it (nor can it do anything) without spending extra external energy.

Well, even if you can't, I think it would be cool if you routed your car's power through a perpetual motion machine, just to say one was involved.

Re:You can't read it (without other power) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41665383)

One key point that makes it not a free energy machine is that ...

One would think the key point that makes it not free energy, is that no one claims it is (except one lone slashdot submitter who didn't even read the article... Probably the slashdot editor too. But no one else!)

Had these on Land of the Lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664775)

C'mon, this is old news, they had these on Land of the Lost.

http://www.tvacres.com/metals_pylons.htm

Yet Another Sci-Fi Time Crystal (1)

JoeRandomHacker (983775) | about a year and a half ago | (#41664857)

Back to the 70's, and ancient Atlantis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Time_Monster [wikipedia.org]

Re:Yet Another Sci-Fi Time Crystal (1)

lennier (44736) | about a year and a half ago | (#41665149)

Back to the 70's, and ancient Atlantis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Time_Monster [wikipedia.org]

I initially misread that as "... and ancient Ataris".

Which was even scarier than the Doctor Who premise.

Re:Yet Another Sci-Fi Time Crystal (1)

JoeRandomHacker (983775) | about a year and a half ago | (#41665249)

Back to the 70's, and ancient Atlantis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Time_Monster [wikipedia.org]

I initially misread that as "... and ancient Ataris".

Which was even scarier than the Doctor Who premise.

As long as you have a decent supply of Epyx 500XJ joysticks, I don't see anything to be afraid of. (You'll need to replace them periodically 'cause the little plastic bit inside holding the guts in place tends to break.)

commonly understood (-1)

frovingslosh (582462) | about a year and a half ago | (#41664917)

It is commonly understood that crystals exist in a state of matter that is periodic in space.

If your Bullshit Detector didn't go off as soon you read this in the original post, then I have a new religion that I would like to share with you.

Re:commonly understood (5, Insightful)

lennier (44736) | about a year and a half ago | (#41665215)

It is commonly understood that crystals exist in a state of matter that is periodic in space.

If your Bullshit Detector didn't go off as soon you read this in the original post

Mine didn't. Does yours need calibration [wikipedia.org]?

A crystal structure is composed of a pattern, a set of atoms arranged in a particular way, and a lattice exhibiting long-range order and symmetry. Patterns are located upon the points of a lattice, which is an array of points repeating periodically in three dimensions.

Periodicity is a well-defined concept.

Re:commonly understood (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41666373)

Careful. You've just conflated mathematical periodicity with physical periodicity. They're not the same thing.

A periodic mathematical function repeats infinitely: f(n) = f(n + T); therefore \forall n,k f(n) = f(n + k*T).
A periodic physical property has discrete elements that obey the periodic relationship, but there is no implied induction / infinite continuation.

Any proof that attempts to use the mathematical concept cannot be applied to physical reality without very strong additional proof that the property holds.

Re:commonly understood (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about a year and a half ago | (#41666397)

It should be obvious that these would be identical in every way to what is known as "resonance".

time is not a dimension (2)

Dr. Tom (23206) | about a year and a half ago | (#41665001)

it is a co-dimension.

if you don't understand the difference, go study

Re:time is not a dimension (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41665399)

Have studied, understand difference, recognise complete horse pucky when it's produced.

Re:time is not a dimension (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41665573)

oh, so now dimensions with the other sign are called codimensions. Got it.

Not sure what textbook that came out of, I've never seen that convention before.

Re:time is not a dimension (3, Informative)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a year and a half ago | (#41665821)

Links please!

Conversely, for those interested in the other half of the equation -- namely understanding the spatial dimension -- a new paradigm such as bivectors, trivectors, antiscalar, wedge product is necessary.

A Bigger Mathematical Picture for Computer Graphics (Eric Lengyel)
http://www.terathon.com/wscg12_lengyel.pdf [terathon.com]

A Unified Language for Mathematics and Physics
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.134.6311&rep=rep1&type=pdf [psu.edu]

Clifford Algebra and the Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics
http://www.montgomerycollege.edu/Departments/planet/planet/Numerical_Relativity/Geometric_Algebra/caiqm.pdf [montgomerycollege.edu]

The Unified Family of all physical quantities
http://www.naturics.eu/?page_id=1068 [naturics.eu]

conway's game of life (1)

slew (2918) | about a year and a half ago | (#41665041)

Somehow, that's what comes to mind when I think about this...

Of course the reality is that it requires some sort of symmetry breaking field (where the mathematics work out like an oscillating soliton).

The problem of course is that if such a minimum energy oscillating system existed, you would likely not be able to use it like a clock since once you attempted to measure it somehow, you would likely disturb in a way where it would no longer be accurate going forward.

Maybe this could be used in some weird thought experiment as a timer in along with Schrödinger's cat? If you look at the timer before it expires, the cat is dead, if you wait until the timer expires, the cat is alive, but if you don't look at the timer, the cat is still in a superposition between alive and dead? Okay, maybe that's just silly ;^)

Isaac Asimov (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41665221)

Thiotimoline

Final Fantasy had it right all along (1)

SuperMooCow (2739821) | about a year and a half ago | (#41665471)

Crystals really have amazing and out-of-this-world powers!

Now where is my mithra porn, damnit?

Re:Final Fantasy had it right all along (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41666503)

Now where is my mithra porn, damnit?

What you're looking for is in that red materia labeled "Shiva".

and radiation means zero (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41665505)

does transition form states of matter happen without energy ....remember that lil bit about "things like to do what they already are doing"
my bet is this will cost you more then its worth in terms of energy or devices we use now...and time is NOT a dimension

space-time is a dimension that we live in that has 3 dimensions, it can be curved and bent and theoretical pushed through , but it is not separate on its own or we'd have time travel both ways without issues. UGH where do we get these idiots and whose wasting money now.

the interesting bit.. (1)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | about a year and a half ago | (#41666415)

the interesting bit, at the end, is about how this type of thinking makes a cyclic universe seem explainable as a time crystal, which i mean to take as a no-energy gain or loss ground state oscillating between it's states. but it was pretty hard making that sort of assumption, myself. i wonder what they see about that that fits our model so well; perhaps just because we have some math for it, being the universal language, pun intended.

Size does matter (1)

sgunhouse (1050564) | about a year and a half ago | (#41666535)

It occurs to me ... how large are normal crystals? Has anyone ever heard of a crystal a light-second across? If the size of a time crystal corresponds to the size of normal crystals ... picoseconds? Not very practical.

Perpetual Motion is not impossible (1)

lukeskywalker9m (1704756) | about a year and a half ago | (#41666641)

Electrons are perpetual motion around nuclear. I think we can make a perpetual machine by harvesting universal expansion.

pompous nonsense? (1)

viking80 (697716) | about a year and a half ago | (#41666801)

I started reading and just stopped after the first paragraph:
"Spontaneous symmetry breaking is ubiquitous in nature. It occurs when the ground state (classically, the lowest energy state) of a system is less symmetrical than the equations governing the system. Examples in which the symmetry is broken in excited states are common—one just needs to think of Kepler’s elliptical orbits, which break the spherical symmetry of the gravitational force"

Can someone educate me, as this appears to be cargo science:
- How can an "energy state be less symmetrical then the equation for the system". Seems wrong semantically, mathematically and physically?
- How can on state that "elliptical orbits break the spherical symmetry of the gravitational force". How can a simple principle be misunderstood with such pompous nonsense?
- and is the ground state *not* the lowest enerygy state in quantum mechanics as implied in first sentence?

It only gets worse from there.

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