Jun 10, 2022

Researchers observe continuous time crystal

Posted by in category: quantum physics

Researchers from the Institute of Laser Physics at Universität Hamburg have succeeded for the first time in realizing a time crystal that spontaneously breaks continuous time translation symmetry. They report their observation in a study published online by the journal Science on Thursday, 9 June, 2022.

The idea of a time crystal goes back to Nobel laureate Franck Wilczek, who first proposed the phenomenon. Similar to water spontaneously turning into ice around the , thereby breaking the of the system, the time translation symmetry in a dynamical many-body system spontaneously breaks when a time crystal is formed.

In recent years, researchers have already observed discrete or Floquet time crystals in periodically driven closed and open quantum systems. “In all previous experiments, however, the continuous-time translation symmetry is broken by a time-periodic drive,” says Dr. Hans Keßler from Prof. Andreas Hemmerich’s group at the Cluster of Excellence CUI: Advanced Imaging of Matter. “The challenge for us was to realize a system that spontaneously breaks the continuous time translation symmetry.”

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