A new research paper has revealed that Google's quantum computer has been used to create something called a "time crystal".
It should be noted before I explain what this "time crystal" is, the research paper from Google researchers has yet to be peer-reviewed, which means the findings are not yet "official" and can be challenged by other academics in the field. So, what is a "time crystal"? A time crystal is a state of matter that can continuously operate out of thermal equilibrium.
A good way to think of this is by imaging an ice cub and a glass of water. By placing an ice cube in the water, the water in the glass becomes cooler, but the ice will eventually melt, and after enough time, the water will become room temperature. This process is "thermal equilibrium". According to the paper, researchers used Google's quantum computer called Sycamore to create a system that operates outside of thermal equilibrium, a new phase of matter.
The researchers write in the paper;
"Our work employs a time-reversal protocol that discriminates external decoherence from intrinsic thermalization, and leverages quantum typicality to circumvent the exponential cost of densely sampling the eigenspectrum. In addition, we locate the phase transition out of the DTC with an experimental finite-size analysis."
Roderich Moessner, director of the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden, Germany, and a co-author on the Google paper said, "The consequence is amazing: You evade the second law of thermodynamics."
This research is still in its infancy, which means there is very little practical impact for everyday people. However, if this research is proved authentic by peers, researchers could establish a scalable approach to studying "non-equilibrium phases of matter on current quantum processors."
"These results establish a scalable approach to study non-equilibrium phases of matter on current quantum processors," said the researchers.