Colloquium: Quantum and Classical Discrete Time Crystals

TitleColloquium: Quantum and Classical Discrete Time Crystals
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsZaletel, MP, Lukin, M, Monroe, C, Nayak, C, Wilczek, F, Yao, NY
Date Published5/15/2023

The spontaneous breaking of time translation symmetry has led to the discovery of a new phase of matter - the discrete time crystal. Discrete time crystals exhibit rigid subharmonic oscillations, which result from a combination of many-body interactions, collective synchronization, and ergodicity breaking. This Colloquium reviews recent theoretical and experimental advances in the study of quantum and classical discrete time crystals. We focus on the breaking of ergodicity as the key to discrete time crystals and the delaying of ergodicity as the source of numerous phenomena that share many of the properties of discrete time crystals, including the AC Josephson effect, coupled map lattices, and Faraday waves. Theoretically, there exists a diverse array of strategies to stabilize time crystalline order in both closed and open systems, ranging from localization and prethermalization to dissipation and error correction. Experimentally, many-body quantum simulators provide a natural platform for investigating signatures of time crystalline order; recent work utilizing trapped ions, solid-state spin systems, and superconducting qubits will be reviewed. Finally, this Colloquium concludes by describing outstanding challenges in the field and a vision for new directions on both the experimental and theoretical fronts.