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Parity-time (PT) symmetry has been opening exciting opportunities in optics, yet the required careful balance of loss and gain has been hindering its practical implementations. Here, we propose a gain-free route to PT-symmetry based on non-monochromatic excitations that mimic loss and gain in passive systems. Based on the concept of virtual absorption, extended here to implement also virtual gain, we induce PT-symmetry and its landmark effects, such as broken phase transitions, anisotropicarXiv:1911.12875v1 fatcat:q4jak67kcndy5a5z4luvldrnxy