Extending the framework of statistical physics to the nonequilibrium setting has led to the discovery of previously unidentified phases of matter, often catalyzed by periodic driving. However, preventing the runaway heating that is associated with driving a strongly interacting quantum system remains a challenge in the investigation of these newly discovered phases. In this work, we utilize a trapped-ion quantum simulator to observe the signatures of a nonequilibrium driven phase without disorder-the prethermal discrete time crystal. Here, the heating problem is circumvented not by disorder-induced many-body localization, but rather by high-frequency driving, which leads to an expansive time window where nonequilibrium phases can emerge. Floquet prethermalization is thus presented as a general strategy for creating, stabilizing, and studying intrinsically out-of-equilibrium phases of matter.
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