We investigate a disorder-free quantum Ising chain subject to a time-periodic drive that rotates each spin by an angle π(1ϵi). In case all spins experience the same deviation ϵ and the system is initialized in a fully polarized state, the dynamics is known to be time-crystalline: the magnetization of the system exhibits period-doubled oscillations for timescales that grow exponentially with the length of the chain. In this work, we study the effect of a deviation ϵ that differs between spins. We find that reducing ϵ for a single spin drastically enhances the lifetime of spatio-temporal order, suggesting the name “metronome” spin. Employing perturbative arguments in an average Hamiltonian picture, we explain this observation for initial states with macroscopic bulk magnetization. Furthermore, in the case of random bitstring initial states, we report the enhancement of the lifetime of a topological edge mode, which can also be understood in the same picture. Finally, we discuss an altered geometry in which the metronome spin is not directly part of the chain, affecting the dynamics in different ways in the two scenarios considered. Our findings unveil the intricate dynamics that emerge in Floquet systems under the influence of a spatially varying drive, thereby uncovering new avenues for Floquet engineering.

N. Euler, A. Braemer, L. Benn, M. Gärttner, „A metronome spin stabilizes time-crystalline
dynamics“, 6. Feb. 2024, arXiv:2402.04078 (2024).


Related to Project A05