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Volume 600 Issue 7889, 16 December 2021
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Volume 600 Issue 7889, 16 December 2021

Catching a wave

Controlling physical systems at the level of individual molecules, atoms or ions underpins technologies such as quantum information processing and quantum metrology. Investigating collisions in a hybrid system of trapped atoms and ions has proved difficult to study at ultracold temperatures and as a result quantum phenomena have remained unobserved. In this week’s issue, Pascal Weckesser, Fabian Thielemann and their colleagues demonstrate quantum-mechanical interactions between an ultracold gas of lithium atoms and barium ions. The researchers use magnetic fields to tune and control the atom–ion interactions, observing ’wave-like’ interactions between them. This might help pave the way to quantum control of such hybrid systems, which could find use in quantum simulation and precision measurements. The cover offers an artistic impression of an individual ion interacting with several atoms with a wave-like character.

Cover image: Ella Marushchenko

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Amendments & Corrections

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