Discrete time-crystals are periodically driven quantum many-body systems with broken discrete time translational symmetry, a non-equilibrium steady state representing self-organization of motion of quantum particles. Observations of discrete time-crystalline order are currently limited to magneto-optical experiments and it was never observed in a transport experiment performed on systems connected to external electrodes. Here we demonstrate that both discrete time-crystal and quasi-crystal survive a very general class of environments corresponding to single-particle gain and loss through system-electrode coupling over experimentally relevant timescales. Using dynamical symmetries, we analytically identify the conditions for observing time-crystalline behavior in a periodically driven open Fermi-Hubbard chain attached to electrodes. We show that the spin-polarized transport current directly manifests the existence of a time-crystalline behavior. Our findings are verifiable in present-day experiments with quantum-dot arrays and Fermionic ultra-cold atoms in optical lattices.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (all)