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Although the idea of time crystals is a a couple of years old, originally proposed in 2012, according to a new paper published recently, a physicist has been able to “describe(s) exactly how to make and measure the properties of such a crystal, and even predict(s) what the various phases surrounding the time crystal should be — akin to the liquid and gas phases of ice.”

The idea of time crystals is interesting because they are a special and new form of matter called “non-equilibrium matter”. The standard form of matter is made up of atoms and molecules that remain perfectly still at absolute zero (0 degree Kelvin or ~ -273 degree Celsius).

However, these “time crystals” have an inherent motion or “oscillation” even at this temperature, and are therefore never in equilibrium in terms of staying stationary. Finding out more about what causes such behaviour could lead to furthering our knowledge in the fields of quantum computing, perpetual motion machines, etc.

Source: http://news.berkeley.edu/2017/01/26/scientists-unveil-new-form-of-matter-time-crystals/