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





Click here to view the previous group photos and the past members of our research group. 


Permanent Staff

Prof. Richard Thompson

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7594 3606 
PImage of Prof Richard ublications
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1973-76 BA (Physics), University of Oxford
1976-80 DPhil (Atomic Spectroscopy), University of Oxford
1981-82 Post-Doctoral R A, Kernforschungszentrum Karlsruhe
1982-83 Post-Doctoral R A, University of Oxford
1983-86 Researcher, National Physical Laboratory, Teddington
1986-92 Lecturer, Imperial College London
1992-2003 Reader, Imperial College London
2003-    Professor, Imperial College London

Richard did his DPhil at the University of Oxford in the area of atomic spectroscopy (pressure broadening of spectral lines). He then spent a year working at the Kernforschungszentrum Karlsruhe on laser spectroscopy of unstable isotopes. After a further year in Oxford working mainly on the Oxford atomic parity violation experiment he moved to the National Physical Laboratory where he was involved in the first UK experiment on laser cooling of trapped ions. He moved to Imperial College as a lecturer in 1986 where he set up experiments on quantum optics with laser-cooled trapped ions. These experiments now include work on Coulomb crystals and ultrahigh resolution spectroscopy.  He is also currently involved in the SPECTRAP project at GSI Darmstadt. He is now a Professor of Experimental Physics at Imperial College.

Dr. Florian Mintert

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2000      Diploma, University of Hamburg
2004      PhD, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich
2004-05 PostDoc with Luiz Davidovich, UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro
2005-07 PostDoc with Eric J. Heller, Harvard, Cambridge MA
2007-10 PostDoc with Andreas Buchleitner, Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg
2010-13 Group leader, Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies
2013-    Senior Lecturer, Imperial College London

Florian worked with Christof Wunderlich in Hamburg, developing ideas for microwave control of trapped ions. He received his PhD from Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich for work on entanglement measures with Andreas Buchleitner. After being PostDoc in Rio de Janerio, Cambridge MA and Freiburg, he was the group leader at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies. Since 2013, he is at Imperial College working on optimal control of quantum systems, in particular of trapped ions. 


Brian Willey

Email: of Brian Willey

1986-     Research technician, Department of Physics, Imperial College London. 
1997-      QOLS Group Safety Coordinator, Imperial College London
1998-      Departmental Laser Safety Officer, Imperial College London


Brian joined Imperial in 1979, initially maintaining and building equipment for the 1.5 metre infrared telescope in Tenerife. In 1984 he moved to the Physics Instrumentation Workshop manufacturing equipment for the various Groups within the Department. He transferred to what was then the Spectroscopy Group in 1986, working with Dr Dick Learner and Prof Jean-Patrick Connerade on Fourier transform spectroscopy and atomic fields. On their retirements he worked with Prof Roland Smith on the Cerberus laser beam line, and the ion trapping group run jointly by Prof Danny Segal and Prof Richard Thompson. He is currently involved in the development and construction of a novel linear RF ion trap.





Prof. Danny Segal (27/8/1960 - 23/9/2015)

Prof. Danny SegalPlease click here to read a tribute to Danny

1980-83 BSc (Physics), University of Manchester
1984-88 PhD, Imperial College
1988-91 Post-Doctoral R A, University of Oxford
1991-93 Post-Doctoral R A, Imperial College London
1993-98 EPSRC Advanced Fellow, Imperial College London
1998-2001 Lecturer, Imperial College London
2001-04 Senior Lecturer, Imperial College London
2004-11 Reader, Imperial College London
2011-15 Professor and Senior Tutor of Physics, Imperial College London

Danny did his PhD and early post-doctoral work in collision physics before joining the ion trapping group at Imperial College, initially as a post doc. He is now a Professor of Quantum Optics and his interests lie in using trapped ions for experiments in quantum optics and for tests of fundamental physics. He has been involved in the co-ordination of a number of EU networks including QUBITS, QGATES and SCALA. He was also involved in a collaboration with the Open University (UK) and the University of Hertfordshire (UK) on giant Kerr nonlinearities in EIT systems and has been a visiting Professor at the University of Paris XIII.


Danny Segal was diagnosed with a brain tumour in September 2014.  Although he was not well enough to return to work after this, he continued to participate in group activities remotely for as long as he could.  Sadly the treatment he received was not able to prevent the growth of the tumour and he passed away in October 2015.

On Wednesday 16th March 2016, a celebration of the life of our friend and colleague Danny Segal took place at the Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London. There was a session of talks, followed by an evening of music. Videos from the event can be found here.

Read more about Professor Danny Segal:

Thompson RC, 2018, Professor Danny Segal - scientist and scholarJournal of Modern Optics, Vol: 65, Pages: 485-489
Burnett, K, 2018, Professor Daniel M Segal and studies of collision and ‘half-collision’ complexes at imperial College London and Oxford University, Journal of Modern OpticsVol 65, Pages 482-484

Research Associate

Dr Simon Webster

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1997-2001 MPhys, University of Oxford
2001-05 DPhil, University of Oxford
2005-07 Postdoc, Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics 
2007-11  Postdoc, University of Oxford
2011-18  Postdoc, University of Sussex
2018-     Postdoc, Imperial College London

Simon has spent his physics career working in the field of experimental quantum optics, primarily using trapped ions. He did his D Phil at the University of Oxford, where he worked on the ground state cooling of trapped calcium ions as preparation for performing two-qubit quantum gates.

His first post-doctoral role was at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, in the area of cavity QED using single atoms, primarily for efficient generation of single photons. After this, he returned to trapped ions, working at the University of Oxford, the University of Sussex, and now Imperial College. He has worked on many aspects of trapped ion quantum information processing over the course of his career, including performing quantum gates using both lasers and radiofrequency fields, looking at methods of increasing the robustness of qubits and gates to experimental imperfections, and performing high-fidelity qubit state detection.


Dr Johannes Heinrich

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2012-13 Diploma, University of Würzburg
2014-18 PhD, Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, Paris
2018-    Research Associate, Imperial College London
Johannes received his PhD from Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, where he set up a new experiment to determine the electron to proton mass ratio with a higher precision than the current CODATA standard. This involved the construction of a linear RF trap and the creation of large beryllium Coulomb crystals.
He is currently mainly involved in the final steps to inaugurate a new linear RF trap for calcium ions, this time for only one or two ions at a time.


Dr Mahdi Sameti

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2011-14  M.Sc. Physics, University of Munich (LMU)
2014-18  Ph.D. Physics, Heriot-Watt university, Edinburgh 

2018-     Research Associate, Imperial College London

Mahdi did his B.Sc. in electrical engineering at Isfahan University of Technology (IUT) in Iran, before moving to Munich for his M.Sc. in Physics. He obtained his Ph.D. from Heriot-Watt university where he was working on quantum simulation of many-body systems with superconducting circuits, in particular topological phases of matter.

As a theoretician member of the ion-trapping group, he is currently exploiting quantum information processing with trapped-ions beyond the conventional Lamb-Dicke regime.  

PhD Students

Ollie Corfield 

Image of Ollie Corfield

2010-14 MEng in Mechanical Engineering, University of Warwick
2016-17 Msc in Quantum Engineering, Imperial College London
2017-    PhD in Ion Trapping, Imperial College London
Ollie completed his degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Warwick in 2014, before joining the inaugural CDT in Quantum Systems Engineering at Imperial College.
For the past few years he has been working on the design and build of a new RF trap, as well as attempting to extend the group's work on studies of coherence in our Penning trap.

Jake Lishman

Image of Jake Lishman2012-16 MPhys in Physics, University of Warwick
2016-17 MSc in Quantum Systems Engineering, Imperial College London
2017-    PhD in Physics, Imperial College London

Jake came through the first cohort of the Quantum Systems Engineering skills hub, and now works on the theory side of the group. 

His work so far has been focussed on the creation and detection of motional superpositions in single trapped ions, and most recently on optimal control methods to perform the Mølmer–Sørensen two-ion entangling gate with high fidelities in the presence of experimental imperfections.



Chungsun Lee

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2014-17 BSc, University of Toronto, Canada
2017-18 MSc with Extended Research, Imperial College London
2018-    PhD, Imperial College London

Chungsun completed a BSc in Physics at University of Toronto, Canada. He joined Prof. Richard Thompson's group for his master project on electronic detection of in a Paul Trap. During the project, he developed a strong interest in ion trap applications to quantum information processing. He rejoined the same group for his PhD.

Currently, his research has been focused on optimal control of quantum dynamics in a Penning Trap.


Jacopo Mosca-Toba

Image of Jacopo Mosca-Toba

2014-17 BSc, Kings College London
2017-18 MSc, Imperial College London
2018-19 MRes in Quantum Controlled Dynamics, Imperial College London
2019-    PhD, Imperial College London

Jacopo is currently part of the CDT in Controlled Quantum Dynamics. He completed his BSc in Physics at King’s College London. He then proceeded into an MSc in Physics at Imperial College London, where he grew interest in trapped ions for quantum information processing.

His current research is focused in the optimal control of trapped ions in a linear Paul trap; based in the laboratory of Prof Richard Thompson and co-supervised by Dr Florian Mintert. 

MSci Students

Qingyue Yan