Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Quantum Control

Improving our understanding of Discrete Time Crystal physics is of fundamental interest, and it may enable the unique properties of the DTC and related phases to be exploited in quantum technologies of the future.

While the periodic spatial arrangement of atoms in a crystal (like salt) has been known for a century, the concept of a "discrete time crystal" (DTC) is less than 5 years old. The DTC is an unusual out-of-equilibrium state of matter that may be induced by periodic driving of an interacting quantum spin system. In 2017, two experiments reported a key DTC signature: for long enough interaction times, the system’s response becomes rigidly locked to half of the driving frequency. In 2018, using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), we reported finding this DTC signature in the most unexpected system to date: a clean, ordered crystal. This challenges the paradigm that the DTC arises from many-body localization. In addition, a “DTC echo” experiment revealed hidden coherence in the system.

Sean Barrett picture
Sean Barrett
Professor of Physics and Applied Physics
Kurt Zilm
Kurt Zilm
Professor of Chemistry