Precise control over quantum systems is the foundation of quantum technology that will shape our society in revolutionary ways—from computation and simulation to sensing and communication. Alongside technological advances, better and better quantum control will enable new tests of fundamental physics. I will discuss our efforts on both fundamental physics and technological aspects.
First, I will focus on our work with cold atoms and ions in a hybrid atom-ion setup. An integrated time-of-flight mass spectrometer allows for the analysis of ion ensembles with isotopic resolution. Recent results will be highlighted such as the demonstration of non-equilibrium physics between atoms and ions as well as the discovery of a new class of molecules. Ultimately, this work aims at a quantum computation platform utilizing cold molecular ions.
Second, I will report on our search for the nuclear isomeric transition in thorium-229. This transition around 160nm eludes nuclear physics techniques but becomes accessible to lasers and is a prime candidate for future optical clocks and fundamental physics tests. In a first direct search using thorium-doped crystals and tunable VUV synchrotron light, we were able to exclude a large region of transition frequencies vs. lifetimes. Our ongoing efforts with a home-built VUV laser system will yield significantly improved sensitivity.
Lastly, future directions will be outlined using novel quantum systems with far-reaching impact on metrology, quantum sensing, quantum computation, quantum chemistry, and fundamental physics tests.