Realizing a dynamical topological phase without symmetry protection in trapped ions
In thermal equilibrium, 1d bosonic systems (e.g. spin- or qubit- chains) cannot support intrinsically topological phases without symmetry protection. For example, the edge states of the Haldane spin chain are fragile to magnetic fields, in contrast to the absolutely stable Majorana edge states of a topological superconducting wire of fermionic electrons. This fragility is a serious drawback to harnessing topological edge states as protected quantum memories in existing AMO and qubit platforms for quantum simulation and information processing. In this talk, I will present evidence for a non-equilibrium topological phase of quasiperiodically-driven trapped ion chains, that exhibits topological edge states that are protected purely by emergent dynamical symmetries that cannot be broken by microscopic perturbations. This represents both the first experimental realization of a non-equilibrium quantum phase, and the first example of a 1d bosonic topological phase that does not rely on symmetry-protection.