Time crystals have been theorized only a few years ago and confirmed recently. The articles reporting it don't talk about what they could be used for. Of course, every branch of physics can help us understand the world better, but have there been any proposals for a practical application of time crystals?

There are, and were, events especially in nuclear physics when a practical application of something was thought of before it was first proven or synthesized. What about the so called "time crystals"? What can they be used for where regular superconductors are not enough?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ More on time crystals. $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic
    Mar 16, 2017 at 15:18
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Qmechanic : I've read them, but they don't focus on practical applications, this is why I asked. $\endgroup$
    – vsz
    Mar 16, 2017 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think there is any practical application announced for time crystals other than researching on non equilibrium states of matter. $\endgroup$
    – bitsabhi
    Sep 20, 2021 at 18:13

2 Answers 2


This is a review article on the status of the research by summer of 2017. I copy the conclusions:

In the present article we have reviewed current state of the art of investigations of time crystals originally pro- posed by Wilczek (Wilczek, 2012), i.e. the phenomena that are related to self-organization of quantum many- body systems in time. This kind of self-organization is a truly quantum effect and should be distinguished from classical self-organization phenomena where non-linear oscillators synchronize their motion if a coupling between them is sufficiently strong . The formation of time crystals is quite analogous to the formation of space crystals.


While the original time crystal proposition turned out to be impossible for realization, Wilczek’s vision triggered a new research field and became an inspiration to other scientists.

Goes on to describe recent proposals and ends with:

We believe that a current strong activity in the field of time crystals will reveal novel phenomena that are difficult to discover in condensed matter systems or simply overlooked so far. Bearing in mind that a time degree of freedom adds an additional dimension, more possibilities for new discoveries are opened.

Nowhere in this review is a list for "practical applications'.

In general searches one finds vague proposals that time crystals will be useful for quantum computing:

While Yao is hard put to imagine a use for a time crystal, other proposed phases of non-equilibrium matter theoretically hold promise as nearly perfect memories and may be useful in quantum computers.

So, imo it is still at the research level, experimental and theoretical, and it is too soon to gauge the possible applications. After all when Maxwell came up with his equations which predicted electromagnetic waves, ~1860s Herz measured them in 1887, almost thirty years later, and the first practical application with communications happened in in the 1890's . At the time of the electromagnetic wave proposal wireless communications were not even dreamed about.

With our accelerated times ( 5 years between Wilczek's proposal and experiments, and the many researchers working away) applications should not be far away.


Time crystals could be very useful in quantum computing and possibly in fusion, for similar reasons. Essentially time crystals provide a more stable quantum environment then your run-of-the-mill particle beam.

Because time crystals have some self-persistence of their state, even without external input temporarily, they also have extra resilience to all the randomness of heat entropy and external vibrations. This makes them ideal for some designs of qubit RAM.

It should also be theoretically possible to create a time and spatial lattice at high pressures and temperatures, but it is unknown to me what level of technology that's going to require. The resonance stress on the materials would be rather high I think.

Surely other uses exist. One other quantum computing use would be a timer.


Equilibration and order in quantum Floquet matter

R. Moessner & S. L. Sondhi

Observation of a discrete time crystal

J. Zhang, P. W. Hess, A. Kyprianidis, P. Becker, A. Lee, J. Smith, G. Pagano, I.-D. Potirniche, A. C. Potter, A. Vishwanath, N. Y. Yao & C. Monroe

Discrete time crystal in a finite chain of Rydberg atoms without disorder

Chu-hui Fan, D. Rossini, Han-Xiao Zhang, Jin-Hui Wu, M. Artoni, and G. C. La Rocca Phys. Rev. A 101, 013417

Observation of a prethermal discrete time crystal, regarding exploring metastable states in nonequilibrium thermodynamics

A. Kyprianidis, F. Machado, W. Morong, P. Becker, K. S. Collins, D. V. Else, L. Feng, P. W. Hess, C. Nayak, G. Pagano, N. Y. Yao, and C. Monroe

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Wait, what? I don't see the relevance to fusion or particle beams at all... $\endgroup$
    – Rococo
    Jul 19, 2017 at 14:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ ...Or why this would be a better timer than any other oscillator... $\endgroup$
    – Rococo
    Jul 19, 2017 at 14:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Rococo oh, ok. you will eventually. as per beams, some implementations of time crystals have been in the form of a particle beam already. as per fusion, that's a rather complicated discussion. often one goal in a fusion reactor is to inject pressure/heat/energy into a small local region with precise timing and regularity. time crystals offer the potential to fine tune whether reactions are above or below the threshold required for fusion to be sustained while also providing features to the heat which the reactor walls have to handle. $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2017 at 15:53
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Without references, it's impossible to tell this apart from pure speculation. $\endgroup$ Nov 4, 2017 at 11:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I am not sure about the fusion, however, comments on quantum memories (qRAM) seem relevant. $\endgroup$ Aug 20, 2021 at 21:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.