Double well potentials and quantum phase transitions in ion traps

A. Retzker, R. C. Thompson, D. M. Segal, M. B. Plenio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


We demonstrate that the radial degree of freedom of strings of trapped ions in the quantum regime may be prepared and controlled accurately through the variation of the external trapping potential while at the same time its properties are measurable with high spatial and temporal resolution. This provides a new testbed giving access to static and dynamical properties of the physics of quantum-many-body systems and quantum phase transitions that are hard to simulate on classical computers. Furthermore, it allows for the creation of double well potentials with experimentally accessible tunneling rates, with applications in testing the foundations of quantum physics and precision sensing.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number260504
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number26
StatePublished - 22 Dec 2008


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