Feeds

Berkeley Lab proposes 4D clock

‘Space-time crystal’ would outlast the universe

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

It’s not quite a perpetual motion machine: scientists at the US Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have proposed a design for a timing crystal they say would theoretically outlast the universe.

In this paper, published on Arxiv, the researchers propose a design for "a 4D crystal that has periodic structures in both space and time”.

While it sounds blue-sky, the researchers say a space-time crystal would provide important inputs to understanding problems in many-body physics (complex interactions between large numbers of individual particles).

To create the “space-time crystal”, the paper suggests trapping particles of the same charge in space using an electrical field. Their Coulomb repulsion forces them into a ring configuration, at their lowest possible energy state.

In classical mechanics, that’s an end to the matter: the “lowest energy state” would mean the particles can’t move. This is, it seems, the characteristic of a 3D crystal in the macro world: the particles have organized into their lowest energy state. To get them moving – for example, in a computer’s timing crystal – external energy is needed.

However, there’s an escape clause at the quantum level: the ions can be given a push with a weak magnetic field, to get them rotating, and since they lose no energy to the outside world, that rotation should continue forever – even, according to research leader Xiang Zhang, after the “heat death” of the universe. And since there is no energy output from the crystal, it doesn’t break the rules to offer a perpetual motion machine.

As Zhang explains here, “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.” ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.