Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Quantum physics

Time crystals

Physicists have come up with the mind-boggling concept of a time crystal. This intriguing proposal, which is based on the notion of broken time-translation symmetry, might open up a whole new field of research.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Periodicities in space and time.


  1. Wilczek, F. Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 160401 (2012).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Shapere, A. & Wilczek, F. Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 160402 (2012).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Li, T. et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 163001 (2012).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Yang, C. N. Rev. Mod. Phys. 34, 694–704 (1962).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Voss, D. Physics 5, 111 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Bruno, P. Preprint at (2012).

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Piers Coleman.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Coleman, P. Time crystals. Nature 493, 166–167 (2013).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing