While that remains a fantasy, scientists have successfully created micro-scale time crystals for years — not for powering intergalactic spaceships, but for energizing ultrapowerful computers.
"Time crystals are like a rest stop on the road to building a quantum computer," said Norman Yao, a molecular physicist at the University of California, Berkley.
It's an area of interest for Google, which, along with physicists at Stanford and Princeton universities, claim to have developed a "scalable approach" to time crystal creation using the company's Sycamore quantum computer.
In a paper published last month on the research-sharing platform Arxiv.org, a team of over 100 scientists describe how they set up an array of 20 quantum particles, or qubits, to serve as a time crystal. During experiments, they applied algorithms that spun the qubits upward and downward, generating a controllable reaction that could be sustained "for infinitely long times," according to the paper.