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Here’s some news straight out of the next season of Loki. …Physicists have reportedly used Google’s quantum computer to create the first-ever “time crystal.”
It’s an entirely new phase of matter—in other words, a new sibling to liquid, solid, gas, and plasma—and researchers have tried and failed to create it for over five years. Time crystals occur when an object’s parts “move in a regular, repeating cycle, sustaining this constant change without burning any energy,” Quanta Magazine reports.
- Water and ice, for example, have attributes that don’t change over time, but a time crystal is both in stable condition and constantly changing. (Kind of like Schrödinger's kitty cat.)
Why this is big: This could be the “greatest scientific achievement of our lifetimes,” reports TNW—and a key to the quantum computing puzzle. Quantum qubits tend to act differently when observed than when left alone, which makes quantum computer outputs difficult to read. A time crystal could be the cipher we’ve all been waiting for.
Looking ahead: If everything checks out under peer review, then time crystals could make quantum computing breakthroughs a reality much sooner than anyone anticipated. Think drug discovery for cancer treatment, advances in cybersecurity, and more.—HF