The first crystal was created by http://tinyurl.com/js2h6b4">Moore et al and involved magnetization. By adding a periodic driving force it was possible to generate spin flips inducing collective spin flip as a kind of domino effect. The surprise was that the period was twice the original period and small changes of the driving frequency did not affect the period. One had something more than forced oscillation - a genuine time crystal. The period of the driving force - Floquet period- was 74-75 μs and the system is measured for N=100 Floquet periods or about 7.4-7.5 milliseconds (1 ms happens to be of same order of magnitude as the duration of nerve pulse). I failed to find a comment about the size of the system. With quantum biological intuition I would guess something like the size of large neuron: about 100 micrometers.
Second law does not favor time crystals. The time in which single particle motions are thermalized is expected to be rather short. In the case of condensed matter systems the time scale would not be much larger than that for a typical rate of typical atomic transition. The rate for 2P → 1S transition of hydrogen atom gives the general idea. The decay rate is proportional to ω3d2, where ω= Δ E/hbar is the frequency difference corresponding to the energy difference between the states, d is dipole moment proportional to α a0, a0 Bohr radius and α∼ 1/137 fine structure constant. Average lifetime as inverse of the decay rate would be 1.6 ns and is expected to give a general order of magnitude estimate.
The proposal is that the systems in question emerge in non-equilibrium thermodynamics, which indeed predicts a master-slave hierarchy of time and length scales with masters providing the slowly changing background in which slaves are forced to move. I am not a specialist enough to express any strong opinions about thermodynamical explanation.
What does TGD say about the situation?
- So called Anderson localization is believed to accompany time crystal. In TGD framework this translates to the fusion of 3-surfaces corresponding to particles to single large 3-surface consisting of particle 3-surfaces glued together by magnetic flux tubes. On can say that a relative localization of particles occurs and they more or less lose the relative translation degrees of freedom. This effect occurs always when bound states are formed and would happen already for hydrogen atom.
TGD vision would actually solve a fundamental problem of QED caused by the assumption that proton and electron behave as independent point like particles: QED predicts a lot of non-existing quantum states since Bethe-Salpeter equation assumes degrees of freedom, which do not actually exist. Single particle descriptions (Schrödinger equation and Dirac equation) treating proton and electron effectively as single particle geometrically (rather than independent particles) having reduced mass gives excellent description whereas QED, which was thought to be something more precise, fails. Quite generally, bound states are not properly understood in QFTs. Color confinement problem is second example about this: usually it is believed that the failure is solely due to the fact that color interaction is strong but the real reason might be much deeper.
- In TGD Universe time crystals would be many-particle systems having collection of 3-surfaces connected by magnetic flux tubes (tensor network in terms of condensed matter complexity theory). Magnetic flux tubes would carry dark matter in TGD sense having heff/h=n increasing the quantal scales - both spatial and temporal - so that one could have time crystals in long scales.
Biology could provide basic examples. For instance, EEG resonance frequency could be associated with time crystals assignable to the magnetic body of brain carrying dark matter with large heff/h=n - so large that dark photon energy E=hefff would correspond to an energy above thermal energy. If bio-photons result from phase transitions heff/h=n→ 1, the energy would be in visible-UV energy range. These frequencies would in turn drive the visible matter in brain and force it to oscillate coherently.
- The time crystals claimed by Monroe and Lurkin to be created in laboratory demand a feed of energy (see this) unlike the time crystals proposed by Wilzek. The finding is consistent with the TGD based model. In TGD the generation of large heff phase demands energy. The reason is that the energies of states increase with heff. For instance, atomic binding energies decrease as 1/h2eff. In quantum biology this requires feeding of metabolic energy. Also now interpretation would be analogous to this.
- Standard physics view would rely in non-equilibrium thermodynamics whereas TGD view about time crystals would rely on dark matter and hierarchy of Planck constants in turn implied by adelic physics suggested to provide a coherent description fusing real physics as physics of matter and various p-adic physics as physics of cognition.
Number theoretical universality (NTU) leads to the notion of adelic space-time surface (monadic manifold) involving a discretization in an extension of rationals defining particular level in the hierarchy of adeles defining evolutionary hierarchy. heff/h=n has been identified from the beginning as the dimension of poly-sheeted covering assignable to space-time surface. The action of the Galois group of extensions indeed gives rise to covering space. The number n of sheets would the order of Galois group implying heff/h=n, which is bound to increase during evolution so that the complexity increases.
Indeed, since n is positive integer evolution is analogous to a diffusion in half-line and n unavoidably increases in the long run just as the particle diffuses farther away from origin (by looking what gradually happens near paper basket one understands what this means). The increase of n implies the increase of maximal negentropy and thus of negentropy. Negentropy Maximization Principle (NMP) follows from adelic physics alone and there is no need to postulate it separately. Things get better in the long run although we do not live in the best possible world as Leibniz who first proposed the notion of monad proposed!
- Why metabolic energy would be needed? Intuitive answer is that evolution requires it and that evolution corresponds to the increase of n=heff/h. To see the answer to the question, notice that the energy scale for the bound states of an atom is proportional to 1/h2 and for dark atom to 1/heff2 ∝ n2 (do not confuse this n with the integer n labelling the states of hydrogen atom!).
Dark atoms have smaller binding energies and their creation by a phase transition increasing the value of n demands a feed of energy - metabolic energy! If the metabolic energy feed stops, n is gradually reduced. What is remarkable that the scale of atomic binding energies decreases with n only in dimension D=3. In other dimensions it increases and in D=4 one cannot even speak of bound states! Life based on metabolism seems to make sense only in spatial dimension D=3. Note however that there are also other quantum states than atomic states with different dependence of energy on heff.
- One can also understand bio-catalysis. In the simplest situation three molecules - catalyst and the two reactants meet in the reaction. Already this meeting demands heff reducing phase transition scaling down the length of some flux tubes connecting the molecules together so that they are drawn together.
At least in the catalyst molecule some atom(s) would be in a state with some n>1 and in the reaction n would be reduced and liberate binding energy. This energy would help the reactants to overcome the potential wall making the reaction slow so that reaction would proceed swiftly. After this they would liberate binding energy back to the catalyst molecule. Catalyst would serve as a matchmaker helping the shy potential lovers to overcome the barrier. Note again that this is possible only in D=3!