"My understanding of the article, based on the odd word I understood ( eg: "and" ) was perpetual motion. So that can't be right then. Anybody?"
Perpetual motion isn't actually impossible. For example, a simple two body system of a moon orbiting a planet will continue in motion forever in the absence of any other forces. In practice, such macroscopic inevitably do have other forces involved - friction in particular being a bit of a bugger - so things mostly come down to reducing them as much as possible and just getting really, really close to perpetual motion. And as it turns out, even in the absence of friction or any external force, relativity says such a system must emit gravitational waves and so over a very long time it will decay and not actually be perpetual.
However, when we go to the quantum scale things, as usual, get a bit weird. An electron orbiting a proton (a hydrogen atom) is similar to the moon/planet system, but it turns out only discrete energy transitions are possible - an electron in the lowest energy state cannot lose any more energy and instead remains in "orbit" around the proton (the orbit analogy is obviously not actually correct, but the important point that the electron has energy and remains in motion is correct). That's what is called the "ground state", and it effectively means that every single atom, or indeed anything composed of more than a single particle, is in perpetual motion.
What this research essentially says is that you can construct a crystal that also has a non-zero ground state energy and so behaves more like one of those quantum systems than a macroscopic system. The important part is says that the system "must never reach thermal equilibrium or radiate heat" - basically you set things up so that it can't ever lose energy, and instead remains in the non-zero energy ground state. In fact, even that isn't considered particularly strange in this field, the weird part is that it's not normally possible for a system in the ground state to spontaneously start doing something. An electron in hydrogen in its ground state was already "orbiting" and simply continues do so, while these crystals are the equivalent of taking a proton and electron with zero energy which spontaneously suddenly start orbiting each other. It's pretty weird even for quantum physics, but doesn't appear to actually be breaking any physical laws.
Getting back to the perpetual motion thing, the reason this is generally the realm of the crackpot is that it's impossible to have perpetual motion and get energy out of the system at the same time. If you eliminate all losses you can have something in motion forever, but as soon as you take energy away it will stop moving. We can't use electrons in atoms as an infinite source of energy because the whole point is that it's impossible for them to lose any more energy. But understanding how electron energy states work has given us things like transistors and lasers, so even though these crystals won't give us any kind of free energy or useful perpetual motion, they could still lead to all kinds of useful things.