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Marko Medenjak: The isolated Heisenberg magnet as a quantum time crystal
May 23 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Isolated systems consisting of many interacting particles are generally assumed to relax to a stationary equilibrium state whose macroscopic properties are described by the laws of thermodynamics and statistical physics. Time crystals, as first proposed by Wilczek, could defy some of these fundamental laws and for instance display persistent non-decaying oscillations. They can be engineered by external driving or contact with an environment, but are believed to be impossible to realize in isolated many-body systems. Here, we will demonstrate analytically and numerically that the paradigmatic model of quantum magnetism, the Heisenberg XXZ spin chain, does not relax to stationarity and hence constitutes a genuine time crystal that does not rely on external driving or coupling to an environment. We will trace this phenomenon to the existence of periodic extensive quantities and find their frequency to be a no-where continuous (fractal) function of the anisotropy parameter of the chain.
* Marko Medenjak, ENS Paris