Group photo of ion trapping group (July 2019)
Top from left: Professor Richard Thompson, Jacopo Mosca-Toba, Brian Willey, Wai Qian Tham, Dr Simon Webster, Ollie Corfield, Dr Florian Mintert.
Bottom from left: Chungsun Lee, Yudi Wu, Dr Johannes Heinrich, Jake Lishman. 

Group photo July 2019





The Ion Trapping Group is part of the Quantum Optics and Laser Science (QOLS) research group within the Physics Department at Imperial College London.  We specialise in the trapping and laser cooling of small numbers of atomic ions. An ion trap gives a unique opportunity to study the behaviour of individual, well-isolated quantum systems. For these reasons, trapped ions are one of the leading technologies in many fields such as the field of quantum optics and quantum information processing.


For many years we have been working mainly with small numbers of ions in Penning traps. Our main interests lie in the preparation of single ions or small Coulomb crystals of ions in the ground state of their motion, and the subsequent coherent manipulation of the quantum state to study interference effects and to implement optimal control techniques for simple quantum gates.  We are also interested in the study of phase transitions in Ion Coulomb Crystals and the potential use of our system to perform quantum simulations of interesting but less controllable quantum systems, such as in condensed matter.

We have recently started a new project using radio-frequency (RF) traps. This also involves the implementation of optimal control techniques for the improvement of coherent manipulation of the quantum state of single ions and two-ion crystals, particularly in the context of elementary quantum gates that are the basis of quantum computing with trapped ions. In future work, we hope to extend these studies to include machine learning algorithms.  More technical detail of our research is given on the research page.  

The academic staff involved in this work are Richard Thompson (experiment) and Florian Mintert (theory). Other people participating in our research are listed on the people┬ápage.


Our research is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.