A team of researchers from University of California, Riverside, Jet propulsion Laboratory, OEwaves and Jagiellonian University in Poland have experimentally demonstrated the observation of discrete time crystals (DTC) in a dissipative system. Time crystals are periodic states exhibiting spontaneous symmetry breaking in quantum many-body systems; they are the temporal analogues of space crystals. Crystalline solids are an example of how the space translational symmetry, which does not favor any particular location, can be
Einstein’s relativity combines space and time into a single entity, spacetime, underscoring the similarity between space and time. Based on this similarity, the Nobel Laureate physicist Frank Wilczek suggested to search for the time analog of space crystals. His suggestion generated considerable interest in the research community to look for what is now considered as a new phase of matter: the time crystal.
In a paper published in Nature Communications (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-28462-x.pdf) the researchers describe an approach utilizing OEwaves’ patented scheme of self-injection locking of semiconductor lasers to an optical whispering gallery mode resonator to lock two independent lasers to the same cavity. The nonlinear (Kerr) interaction of light with the cavity material results in generation of solitons (solitary light waves that do not change with propagation) which break the discrete symmetry of the drive and interact to produce discrete time crystals. Soliton also represent the basis for photonic production
of microwave oscillators that are productized by OEwaves. The authors of the paper present a theory which supports the experimental results and confirms what is observed is indeed discrete time crystals.