Dynamical control of phases and time crystals in an atom-cavity system
Periodic driving of strongly correlated systems has led to outstanding discoveries from light-induced superconductivity to time crystals. To gain insights into the fundamental nature of these phenomena, we have recently studied the effects of an external periodic driving in a well-controlled yet simple many-body platform consisting of a Bose-Einstein condensate inside a high-finesse optical cavity. This system hosts a competition between a homogeneous condensate phase and a self-organized density wave phase, which manifests in a superradiant phase transition as the intensity of a transverse pump beam is increased. We demonstrate dynamical control of this phase transition by periodic driving of the pump laser. Furthermore, we discover the emergence of genuine dynamical phases, namely a discrete time crystalline phase and nonequilibrium density wave orders. Accompanying experimental results confirm our theoretical predictions about light-induced control in the atom-cavity system.