Mar 14, 2018

DARPA Is Funding Time Crystal Research

Posted by in categories: government, military, particle physics, quantum physics

You probably scratched your head last year if you read about time crystals, likely 2017’s most esoteric, widely covered popular science story. Even if you understood how they worked, you might not have known what use they could have. Time crystals, systems of atoms that maintain a periodic ticking behavior in the presence of an added electromagnetic pulse, have now piqued the interest of one well-funded government agency: the Department of Defense.

The DoD’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, announced a new program to fund research on these systems. More generally, the new DRINQS program will study exactly what its acronym stands for: “Driven and Nonequilibrium Quantum Systems.” But why?

“The applications could be for atomic clocks, where you have an ensemble of atoms you’re vibrating to extract time information,” Ale Lukaszew, program manager in DARPA’s defense sciences offices, told Gizmodo. “There might be applications related to measuring things with exquisite sensitivity in time and magnetic field domains. Not a lot of these applications are open for discussion.” In other words, time crystal-based military technology is classified.

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