First of all, and first, indicate that I am not an expert in crystallography, which, in this case, has much to say and not just because they are crystals.
That said, something very important in case I screw up, I put it, by the vulgar internet sites so I usually move to read news I read a multitude of barbarities about what these crystals are.
I will try to summarize it as much as possible according to what I have understood.
As you will know and I do not remember if I have explained (if not, forgive me), the atoms of any object shape their form thanks to the strong and weak interactions (those of the atom that I have already told you) and between all the atoms by one Thing called Van der Waals forces. The latter are the forces of attraction and repulsion between molecules that help them to hold together or not and are electromagnetic forces between the valence layers of the atoms that make up the molecules.
Van der Waals forces (are of various types, remember) are fundamental for maintaining the state of a group of molecules, they are the basis of making the material solid, liquid or gaseous depending on the level at which these forces attract the Molecules. Come, which confer the states of matter.
So far things are simple. The stronger the forces of Van der Waals, the more “solid” is the state of what unites.
That said, let’s go with the other interesting part: crystals.
A crystal is nothing more than a structure that incorporates in itself the repetition of a pattern. The crystallography, a branch of physics, studies these patterns, how they are repeated, how they are created and, ultimately, the reason of them in the materials that have that particularity.
As an example of a pattern (and as I explained in the faculty – blessed Fernando Rull Perez and I say it seriously) we can consider it with tiles with drawings where, a tile itself tells us nothing, but a set of them can Have a pattern that, seen from a greater perspective, is repeated on a surface.
In short, a crystal has a pattern that repeats on its surface and that, said pattern, can be observed at different “distances”. There are molecular patterns, there are patterns of hundreds of molecules, thousands, millions, in centimeters, meters… and in crystallography these repetitions are studied and are classified by many variables. In fact, a crystal, when it “grows” (yes, remember that crystals grow when they are able to acquire more material) repeats these patterns… patterns in space.
Now, if we have a crystal repeating patterns and have those patterns by Van der Waals forces, what happens if there is a material that modifies Van der Waals forces and is therefore able to change its state In a cyclic way, that is, it is repeated over time?. Exactly, we have a glass of time .
So, there are materials that “change shape” cyclically in certain periods… so, they are “perpetual mobile”.
But does a perpetual motive not challenge the laws of thermodynamics? (Any of the three). Yes, I would challenge the first law (that work depends on states and not on how they are done) and the third (entropy change of a system). And this is not possible so you have to have trick.
The trick is because of the zero point energy, which is the lowest energy a system can have and that these crystals “are not as low as they seem” and the Casimir effect is a way of obtaining energy through the quantum effect Of separation … between the molecules. Let us both have energy (little, but something) and the effect of obtaining energy by the size of the molecules, we have no, it does not challenge thermodynamics.
That is, all this is a result or is because we already move, see and calculate things at the quantum level and, above all, we are able to reproduce and do experiments.
And no, it is not magic, nor does it allow us to travel in time, nor is it the savior of modern physics, it is only an “engineering” application of a quantum state solution postulated about 5 years ago.