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Volume 543 Issue 7644, 9 March 2017

The cover shows an artist’s impression of time crystals. Much like ordinary crystals, time crystals exhibit a high degree of structural order. But whereas ordinary crystals get their periodicity from the regular repetition of spatial elements, time crystals are an exotic state of matter in which the same structures repeat themselves in time. Predicted to exist a few years ago, time crystals have so far resisted experimental demonstration. Now, two groups offer evidence for experimental observation of this elusive form of matter. Mikhail Lukin et al. have produced a discrete time crystal using a nitrogen–vacancy system in diamond as an experimental platform. In a complementary paper, Jiehang Zhang et al. achieve a similar feat using trapped ions. Such time crystals could potentially find applications in robust quantum memory. Cover artwork: Peter Crowther


World View

  • World View |

    To help scientists build a career, Panayiota Poirazi says funders must earmark cash, reduce emphasis on collaboration and improve the application process.

    • Panayiota Poirazi

Research Highlights

Seven Days



News Feature


Books & Arts



News & Views Forum

  • News & Views Forum |

    Wolbachia bacteria infect insects and can cause mating incompatibilities, an outcome that is used to fight insect-transmitted disease. The proposed genes responsible illuminate this process and the disease-control mechanisms. See Letter p.243

    • William Sullivan
    • Scott L. O'Neill

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    It emerges that nascent non-coding RNAs transcribed from regulatory DNA sequences called enhancers bind to the enzyme CBP to promote its activity locally. In turn, the activities of CBP stimulate further enhancer transcription.

    • Karen Adelman
    • Emily Egan
  • News & Views |

    Periodic oscillations are common in nature but they generally decay or fall out of phase. Two experiments have found evidence for a Floquet time crystal, which is characterized by persistent in-phase oscillations. See Letters p.217 & p. 221

    • Chetan Nayak
  • News & Views |

    The identification of the regulatory protein ENL as essential to an aggressive form of leukaemia provides insight into transcriptional regulation and highlights potential avenues for therapy. See Letters p.265 & p.270

    • Alex W. Wilkinson
    • Or Gozani
  • News & Views |

    How did the relationship between human societies and their surrounding terrain shape the formation of long-distance trade networks such as the Silk Road? Digital mapping and computer modelling offer insights. See Article p.193

    • Michael J. Harrower
    • Ioana A. Dumitru
  • News & Views |

    The ultimate limit of classical data storage is a single-atom magnetic bit. Researchers have now achieved the writing and reading of individual atoms whose magnetic information can be retained for several hours. See Letter p.226

    • Roberta Sessoli
  • News & Views |

    T cells of the immune system often fail to target cancer cells because they enter a dysfunctional state known as exhaustion. Molecular analysis of T-cell exhaustion provides insights into the clinical use of these cells.

    • Robert A. Amezquita
    • Susan M. Kaech




  • Feature |

    Twitter and other social media help researchers to connect and stay current — but they can also cause emotional distress. Here's how to mitigate that.

    • Amber Dance

Career Brief


  • Futures |

    A simple trick.

    • George Zebrowski
    • Charles Pellegrino
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