SchrodingerZ writes "Scientists at Berkeley Labsin California have theorized a new idea for a clock that can remain ticking even after the death of our universe. The idea is to create a four dimensional crystalline structure that is unaffected by third dimensional havoc. It would work by having the ‘electric field of [an] ion trap holds charged particles in place and Coulomb repulsion causes them to spontaneously form a spatial ring crystal. Under the application of a weak static magnetic field, this ring-shaped ion crystal will begin a rotation that will never stop,’ says Berkeley faculty Xiang Zhang. ‘The persistent rotation of trapped ions produces temporal order, leading to the formation of a space-time crystal at the lowest quantum energy state.’ It is considered to be 4-dimesional because ‘a spatial ring of trapped ions in persistent rotation will periodically reproduce itself in time, forming a temporal analog of an ordinary spatial crystal. With a periodic structure in both space and time, the result is a space-time crystal’. Because this space-time ‘crystal’ would already be at the lowest quantum state possible, theorists believe the structure could continue on after the rest of the universe fades and destroys itself ( thermodynamic equilibrium). Though the idea is mathematically sound (proven by nobel prize winner Frank Wilczek), constuction and manipulation is still only theoretical."
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