The linear-zigzag structural transition in cold ion chains

S Fishman, D Podolsky, E Shimshoni, P Silvi, Tommaso Calarco, Simone Montangero, Giovanna Morigi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


A chain of singly charged particles confined by a harmonic potential exhibits a structural transition to a zigzag configuration when the radial potential frequency is at a critical value, which depends on the particle number. This structural change is a phase transition of second order, whose order parameter is the ions' transverse displacement from the chain axis. The transition is driven by transverse, short-wavelength vibrational modes. At ultra-low temperatures the linear-zigzag instability is a quantum phase transition of the same universality class of Ising models.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIon traps for tomorrow's applications
EditorsMartina Knoop, Irene Marzoli, Giovanna Morigi
PublisherIOS Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-61499-526-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-61499-525-8
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International School of Physics "Enrico Fermi"


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