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, and in our traps we use Calcium-40. 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.

Our current research uses a radio-frequency (RF) trap. This involves the implementation of optimal control techniques to improve the coherent manipulation of the quantum state of either a single ion or a two-ion crystal; with a particular interest in demonstrating high performance two qubit quantum logic gates, which form the basis of quantum computing with trapped ions as our qubits. 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.  

Previously our research worked with a small number of of ions in a Penning trap. Our main interests were 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 also implement optimal control techniques for simple quantum gates.  We studied the 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.

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 page.

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

Group Photo 2021
Top from left: Prof Richard Thompson, Prof Florian Mintert, Zeling Xiong, Zhenghan Yuan
Middle from left: Jake Lishman, George Porter, Chungsun Lee, Simon Webster
Bottom from left: Jacopo Mosca Toba, Maoling Chu, Ollie Corfield, Brian Willey