Absence of Thermalization in Finite Isolated Interacting Floquet Systems
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Conventional wisdom suggests that the long-time behavior of isolated interacting periodically driven (Floquet) systems is a featureless maximal-entropy state characterized by an infinite temperature. Efforts to thwart this uninteresting fixed point include adding sufficient disorder to realize a Floquet many-body localized phase or working in a narrow region of drive frequencies to achieve glassy nonthermal behavior at long time. Here we show that in clean systems the Floquet eigenstates can exhibit nonthermal behavior due to finite system size. We consider a one-dimensional system of spinless fermions with nearest-neighbor interactions where the interaction term is driven. Interestingly, even with no static component of the interaction, the quasienergy spectrum contains gaps and a significant fraction of the Floquet eigenstates, at all quasienergies, have nonthermal average doublon densities. We show that this nonthermal behavior arises due to emergent integrability at large interaction strength and discuss how the integrability breaks down with power-law dependence on system size.