Exceptional spectral phase in a dissipative collective spin model
Physical Review A
© 2022 American Physical Society. We study a model of a quantum collective spin weakly coupled to a spin-polarized Markovian environment and find that the spectrum is divided into two regions that we name normal and exceptional Liouvillian spectral phases. In the thermodynamic limit, the exceptional spectral phase displays the unique property of being made up exclusively of second-order exceptional points. As a consequence, the evolution of any initial density matrix populating this region is slowed down and cannot be described by a linear combination of exponential decays. This phase is separated from the normal one by a critical line in which the density of Liouvillian eigenvalues diverges, a phenomenon analogous to that of excited-state quantum phase transitions observed in some closed quantum systems. In the limit of no bath polarization, this criticality is transferred onto the steady state, implying a dissipative quantum phase transition and the formation of a boundary time crystal.