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Look, I’m going to give it to you straight: time crystals are confusing as hell. They’re a new phase of matter that basically extends the rigid, periodic structure of crystals into the fourth dimension—time. Unlike normal crystals, you can’t hold a time crystal in your hand. Instead, they require a complex laboratory set up that involves trapping ions with lasers. You’ll probably never use a time crystal in your daily life, but they have the potential to be the basis for a nearly perfect memory system for quantum computers.

In short, time crystals are completely esoteric and totally revolutionary. But only five years ago, they didn’t even exist as a theory, much less in a lab.

Read More: Okay, WTF Is a Time Crystal

Last year, two teams of physicists managed to actually create real time crystals in their labs. This physics breakthrough was remarkable, but wouldn’t have been possible without the theoretical work of Chetan Nayak, a physics professor at UC Santa Barbara and a researcher at Microsoft’s quantum lab, Station Q.

To read more, click here.

Category: Science