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The role of fluctuations in quantum and classical time crystals

Toni L. Heugel, Alexander Eichler, Ramasubramanian Chitra, Oded Zilberberg

SciPost Phys. Core 6, 053 (2023) · published 10 August 2023


Discrete time crystals (DTCs) are a many-body state of matter whose dynamics are slower than the forces acting on it. The same is true for classical systems with period-doubling bifurcations. Hence, the question naturally arises what differentiates classical from quantum DTCs. Here, we analyze a variant of the Bose-Hubbard model, which describes a plethora of physical phenomena and has both a classical and a quantum time-crystalline limit. Fluctuations enter the system due to the intrinsic quantum uncertainty and/or due to finite coupling to an environment. These fluctuations can activate transitions between the system's various stationary solutions. We study the role of fluctuations on the stability of the system in the long-time limit and find no distinction between quantum and classical DTCs. This allows us to probe the fluctuations in an experiment using two strongly coupled parametric resonators subject to classical noise.

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