Observation of a many-body-localized discrete time crystal with a programmable spin-based quantum simulator

July, 2021


The discrete time crystal (DTC) is a recently discovered phase of matter that spontaneously breaks time-translation symmetry. Disorder-induced many-body-localization is required to stabilize a DTC to arbitrary times, yet an experimental investigation of this localized regime has proven elusive. Here, we observe the hallmark signatures of a many-body-localized DTC using a novel quantum simulation platform based on individually controllable 13C nuclear spins in diamond. We demonstrate the characteristic long-lived spatiotemporal order and confirm that it is robust for generic initial states. Our results are consistent with the realization of an out-of-equilibrium Floquet phase of matter and establish a programmable quantum simulator based on solid-state spins for exploring many-body physics.

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