Although it might sound like something from a science fiction movie, a team of scientists have successfully managed to capture footage of a micrometer-sized space-time crystal made of magnons. This is stable at room temperature, and using an ultra-precise X-ray microscope, the team recorded recurring periodic magnetization structure. Magnons are basically quasiparticles associated with the spin wave of electrons within a magnetic material. Read more for a video and additional information.
The team was led by Nick Träger, a doctoral student at Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany, and Pawel Gruszecki, a physicist at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland. They built a time crystal from magnons in a magnetic strip with a microscopic antenna attached to it, used to generate an oscillating magnetic field using a radio-frequency current. In the video, the lines that fade in and out show the absorption of the X-ray beam by this magnetic waveguide structure. What you end up with is a visualization of a periodic oscillation in both time and space.
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Summarizing, magnons are the ideal candidate for the observation of such space-time-crystalline formations because they are comparatively large and thus, directly measurable with our microscope. Additionally, the generation of magnons can be easily done at room-temperature which is a major advantage,” said Nick Träger, a doctoral student at Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany.