• Date: 3 April, 2021

Google’s quantum computer creates exciting new state of matter

According to a recently published survey, Google's quantum computer has for the first time successfully created “time crystals”, for 100 seconds. This new state of matter has implications that science has not yet fully realised. This is amazing because it breaks the second law of thermodynamics. Google’s quantum computer, known as the Sycamore, used a chip with its 20 kibits, or controlled quantum particles, that can maintain two states simultaneously. By adjusting the strength of the interactions between the qubits, stored inside the super-computer, the researchers were able to achieve ''many-body'' positions, a long-standing problem in science. 

For almost a decade, scientists have perfected these crystals. They are systems that work continuously, even out of balance. Unlike other forms of matter, its atoms are constantly evolving.

However, it was just a theory, proposed in 2016, and was never possible to prove that they could exist in the real world. New research developed by Google and researchers from Princeton and Stanford University says it has achieved what seemed impossible. According to Wilczek, if produced, crystals would allow us to measure time and distance with extreme accuracy. They could revolutionize quantum technology, telecommunications, mining, and even understanding the universe.

A normal crystal is a highly organised structure with a sequential network of atoms with repeating patterns. However, this 'time crystal' has a pattern that does not repeat over a specified distance, but every specified amount of time. An analogy can be a heart, that beats every specified amount of time and returns to the same shape. However, unlike a heart, this 'time crystal' does not expend its stored energy to move. Its movement comes from a break in its symmetry. 

A time crystal is composed of three elements: the first being a line of particles, each with its own magnetic orientation. These are trapped in a mixture of different energy configurations. This is known as the “many body problem”. The orientations of these particles are then reversed, creating a mirror version of each one. Then there is the application of laser light, thereby switching states – from normal to reflected and back and forth – but without using the energy of the laser itself. Due to its movement, it has been described as ''otherworldly'', as it breaks the second law of thermodynamics that states that entropy or disorder always increases, not reverts to its original state, and certainly not without losing energy. 

The existence of this weird new matter phase, and the entirely new realm of physical behaviours it reveals, is incredibly exciting to physicists, especially as time crystals were only first predicted to exist just nine years ago. We look forward to seeing what Google comes up with next, and what movement without the loss of energy can hold for humanity in the future. Find out more about the latest tech and Google news on the Online Reputation Management company blog here.