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Proposed 4-dimensional crystal clock to keep perfect time even after the heat death of the universe
io9 ^ | 9/25/12 | George Dvorsky

Posted on 09/25/2012 12:21:39 PM PDT by LibWhacker

Scientists say that a perpetual motion machine is physically impossible, but a research team at the University of California Berkeley has just outlined an idea that comes pretty damn close. By proposing a 4D "space-time crystal," the engineers have designed a device that would operate at its lowest quantum energy state and exhibit a clock-like persistence that would theoretically exist even after the universe is exhausted of all its energy, the so-called heat death.

Normally, crystals are comprised of atoms that are arranged in an orderly, repeating three-dimensional pattern. Earlier this year, however, MIT's Nobel-prize winning physicist Frank Wilcze outlined the concept of a crystal that could extend into the fourth dimension, that of time. But while he mathematically proved that such a device could exist, he wasn't exactly clear on how to build such a thing.

That's where an international team of scientists led by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory come in. Mechanical engineer Xiang Zhang and his team have proposed an experimental design of a space-time crystal based on two basic principles: An electric-field ion trap, and the Coulomb repulsion of particles that carry a similar electrical charge. Simply put, it's a four-dimensional crystal that features a periodic structure in time as well as space.

Speaking through a release, Zhang describes how it works:

The electric field of the ion trap holds charged particles in place and Coulomb repulsion causes them to spontaneously form a spatial ring crystal. Under the application of a weak static magnetic field, this ring-shaped ion crystal will begin a rotation that will never stop. The persistent rotation of trapped ions produces temporal order, leading to the formation of a space-time crystal at the lowest quantum energy state.

Essentially, this 4D space-time crystal would consist of a physical object with regular periodic atoms that are moving in a regular, periodic pattern. They would move forever — and with no external input. To create a clock out of such a device, the developers would have to create a circular arrangement of regularly ordered atoms that would orientate to the same location at fixed intervals. The researchers are suggesting this could work by trapping a cloud of beryllium ions working inside a magnetic field, thus forcing them into a circular pattern.

Now while it might seem that way, the device is not a perpetual motion machine. Because it's functioning at the lowest quantum energy state, there is no energy output.

In terms of other applications, the conceptual breakthrough will allow Zhang and his team to study how complex physical properties and behaviors emerge from the collective interactions of large numbers of individual particles. The 4D crystal could also be used in quantum mechanics to study such phenomena as entanglement.

The entire study can be ready at Physical Review Letters.

Other sources: PopSci. Image: UC Berkeley.


TOPICS: Science
KEYWORDS: 4dimensional; clock; crystal; napl; universe
Wow, after I read this article through the first time I understood almost nothing it said, except the title. I'm afraid to read it a second time. Because what will happen if I don't get anything out of it then? I could suffer a flashback to 1st year grad school!
1 posted on 09/25/2012 12:21:41 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker

our tax money at work!

we will get more out of this “after the universe ends” clock than we have gotten out of the last $5 TRILLION dollars BHusseinO has borrowed/spent/stolen in our names.

Prepare to pay and pay and pay and pay and pay all this money back.
For years.
Maybe until “after the universe ends...”
Then we (or our ghosts?) can maybe make use of this wonderful clock we’ve paid for.

What goes around, comes around?


2 posted on 09/25/2012 12:31:45 PM PDT by faithhopecharity
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To: LibWhacker

Useless. If you can’t take any energy out of it, you can’t synchronize an external chronometer to it.


3 posted on 09/25/2012 12:36:46 PM PDT by backwoods-engineer (My game is disruption. I will use lethal force --my vote-- in self-defense against Obama.)
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To: LibWhacker

Mental masturbation but interesting none the less.


4 posted on 09/25/2012 12:38:59 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: backwoods-engineer

I think it’s more like a (classical analog) clock that runs perfectly forever, but has no hands.


5 posted on 09/25/2012 12:40:58 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: LibWhacker

I’ve had one of these for a while, and they are pretty accurate.


6 posted on 09/25/2012 12:41:14 PM PDT by Darteaus94025
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To: Darteaus94025

So, your the one that stole it from me.


7 posted on 09/25/2012 12:43:26 PM PDT by ZX12R (FUBO GTFO 2012 !)
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To: cripplecreek

It will exist as an eternal monument to the folly of those who are deluded into believing that the created can be the measure of The Creator.


8 posted on 09/25/2012 12:47:24 PM PDT by shibumi (Cover it with gas and set it on fire.)
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To: ZX12R

Yeah. It work good too.

Can you send me the instruction manual and the box? I need to sell it before I lose my house in November to some darn Mormon.


9 posted on 09/25/2012 12:51:32 PM PDT by Darteaus94025
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To: LibWhacker

Berserkeley is so practical.

Now, if they could learn to operate the state without electricity blackouts instead of worrying about operating after the death of the universe...


10 posted on 09/25/2012 1:00:17 PM PDT by Hardraade (http://junipersec.wordpress.com (I will fear no muslim))
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To: LibWhacker
Earlier this year, however, MIT's Nobel-prize winning physicist Frank Wilcze outlined the concept of a crystal that could extend into the fourth dimension, that of time. But while he mathematically proved that such a device could exist, he wasn't exactly clear on how to build such a thing.

I was under the impression that every physical object in the universe existed in the fourth dimension.

11 posted on 09/25/2012 1:14:34 PM PDT by Pontiac (The welfare state must fail because it is contrary to human nature and diminishes the human spirit.)
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To: Darteaus94025

Just don’t jump in the pool with it or its back to the physics lab to have it worked on.


12 posted on 09/25/2012 1:15:35 PM PDT by willyd (Don't shoot, we're Republicans!)
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To: LibWhacker

Doesn’t Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle mean that we can only read such a clock by upsetting its perfect timing? It might be a perpetual clock, but it would be so fragile that the first person to look at it would cause it to shatter. Besides a clock requires two components: an oscillator to emit time ticks and an accumulator to count them. This is half a clock at best, an oscillator. Without an accumulator to count the ticks, its worthless. The first tick you count is the last one it emits.


13 posted on 09/25/2012 1:15:43 PM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (What is more unseemly that the sight of Chris Matthews groveling before his own self image?)
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To: LibWhacker

At the “heat death” of the universe, there is no energy available to do work. Everything is at the same energy level - zero. Everything is at the same temperature. Nothing is moving.
So this thing would stop too, just like everything else.


14 posted on 09/25/2012 1:18:21 PM PDT by I want the USA back
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To: LibWhacker

“The electric field of the ion trap holds charged particles in place and Coulomb repulsion causes them to spontaneously form a spatial ring crystal. Under the application of a weak static magnetic field, this ring-shaped ion crystal will begin a rotation that will never stop. The persistent rotation of trapped ions produces temporal order, leading to the formation of a space-time crystal at the lowest quantum energy state.”


Oh yeah, sure.


15 posted on 09/25/2012 1:18:50 PM PDT by freedomlover
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To: LibWhacker

B.S. The damn thing will quit one day after the warrenty expires just like everything else.


16 posted on 09/25/2012 1:19:51 PM PDT by CrazyIvan (Obama's birth certificate was found stapled to Soros's receipt.)
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To: LibWhacker

I need something like this, help me get to work on time and stuff


17 posted on 09/25/2012 1:23:04 PM PDT by NativeSon ( Grease the floor with Crisco when I dance the Disco)
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To: LibWhacker

I already see a problem with this design. The “lasts forever” concept relies on a magnetic field which will NOT last forever.


18 posted on 09/25/2012 1:23:18 PM PDT by taxcontrol
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To: LibWhacker

19 posted on 09/25/2012 1:27:29 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: taxcontrol

Were they talking about a magentic field to initiate the process. It’s not clear. I think they mean that once started, it will “go forever”.

I’d like to see how they verify that.


20 posted on 09/25/2012 1:27:50 PM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (What is more unseemly that the sight of Chris Matthews groveling before his own self image?)
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To: faithhopecharity

I would rather all research like this were privately done unless there is military potential but as long as we are going to spend tax money I’d rather it go to something like this than to pay for twinkies and soda pop at the convenience store or lottery tickets as I see so many people doing in my town.


21 posted on 09/25/2012 1:39:24 PM PDT by albionin
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To: LibWhacker
Time and crystal meth...never a good combo...


22 posted on 09/25/2012 1:47:46 PM PDT by Daffynition (Self-respect: the secure feeling that no one, as yet, is suspicious. ~ HLM)
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To: I want the USA back

Heat death occurs when t=infinity. Thus the clock wouldwork forever.

Also the universe is expanding, heat death does not equal no motion.


23 posted on 09/25/2012 3:02:02 PM PDT by dangerdoc (see post #6)
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To: Slings and Arrows

NAPL!


24 posted on 09/25/2012 3:10:15 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (Reagan @ only 39/Mondale +5/Dukakis +17/McCain +3...panic is unwarranted. So is complacency.)
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To: LibWhacker

“Because it’s functioning at the lowest quantum energy state, there is no energy output.”

Ummm... what about radioactive decay? Just because something is at its lowest energy state doesn’t mean it will stay that way forever. Everything breaks down eventually.


25 posted on 09/25/2012 3:21:53 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: Mr. Silverback; MeekOneGOP; Conspiracy Guy; DocRock; King Prout; Darksheare; OSHA; martin_fierro; ..
Sounds like something Dr Who would wear as a wristwatch.


26 posted on 09/25/2012 6:23:53 PM PDT by Slings and Arrows (You can't have IngSoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: LibWhacker

Isn’t any clock a “crystal in time”? It’s periodic, after all.


27 posted on 09/25/2012 6:32:01 PM PDT by rightwingcrazy
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To: backwoods-engineer

“Useless. If you can’t take any energy out of it, you can’t synchronize an external chronometer to it.”

-—<>-—<>-—<>-—<>-—<>-—

Worse than that: it is impossible to read it in any way.

Being at ground state, it will not emit even one photon.

Furthermore, if you view it in any way, you will break it permanently.

And even if you want to use it as a “once-only” device knowing you will break it, there is no way to know how many cycles it has suffered, and I can imagine no way to accomplish that short of having an infinite number of such devices and reading them simultaneously.


28 posted on 09/26/2012 6:05:00 AM PDT by AFPhys ((Praying for our troops, our citizens, that the Bible and Freedom become basis of the US law again))
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

You are exactly right.


29 posted on 09/26/2012 6:13:18 AM PDT by AFPhys ((Praying for our troops, our citizens, that the Bible and Freedom become basis of the US law again))
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To: LibWhacker

Anyone who likes this kind of thinking will just loooove the book “Permutation City”. Wild stuff man.


30 posted on 09/26/2012 8:46:35 AM PDT by Paradox (I want Obama defeated. Period.)
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Comment #31 Removed by Moderator

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