Ion traps use a combination of electric or magnetic fields to capture and confine ions to micrometer scales. With help of laser light such trapped ions can be cooled down close to absolute zero and crystallize into highly ordered configurations once their temperature crosses a critical value. Depending on the trap geometry and number of ions, such Coulomb crystals come in various different forms, from linear ion chains composed of a few tens of ions to large spherical crystals formed by several thousands of particles. The exquisite control one can achieve over individual ions in such crystals opens up a range of applications from precise clocks, to quantum computing and simulations.
CCQ will explore further avenues by interfacing trapped ion crystals with quantum light fields in optical cavities and quantum gases of ultracold atoms.