While a clean, driven system generically absorbs energy until it reaches "infinite temperature,"it may do so very slowly exhibiting what is known as a prethermal regime. Here, we show that the emergence of an additional approximately conserved quantity in a periodically driven (Floquet) system can give rise to an analogous long-lived regime. This can allow for nontrivial dynamics, even from initial states that are at a high or infinite temperature with respect to an effective Hamiltonian governing the prethermal dynamics. We present concrete settings with such a prethermal regime, one with a period-doubled (time-crystalline) response. We also present a direct diagnostic to distinguish this prethermal phenomenon from its infinitely long-lived many-body localized cousin. We apply these insights to a model of the recent NMR experiments by Rovny et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 180603 (2018)PRLTAO0031-900710.1103/PhysRevLett.120.180603] which, intriguingly, detected signatures of a Floquet time crystal in a clean three-dimensional material. We show that a mild but subtle variation of their driving protocol can increase the lifetime of the time-crystalline signal by orders of magnitude.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)