Discrete Time Crystals

TitleDiscrete Time Crystals
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsElse, DV, Monroe, C, Nayak, C, Yao, NY
JournalAnnual Review of Condensed Matter Physics
Date Published3/10/2020

Experimental advances have allowed for the exploration of nearly isolated quantum many-body systems whose coupling to an external bath is very weak. A particularly interesting class of such systems is those which do not thermalize under their own isolated quantum dynamics. In this review, we highlight the possibility for such systems to exhibit new non-equilibrium phases of matter. In particular, we focus on "discrete time crystals", which are many-body phases of matter characterized by a spontaneously broken discrete time translation symmetry. We give a definition of discrete time crystals from several points of view, emphasizing that they are a non-equilibrium phenomenon, which is stabilized by many-body interactions, with no analog in non-interacting systems. We explain the theory behind several proposed models of discrete time crystals, and compare a number of recent realizations, in different experimental contexts.