Collective quantum phenomena in dissipative systems – towards time-crystal applications in sensing and metrology

Quantum technology carries the promise to revolutionise data processing, communication, and metrology. The current approach towards unlocking this potential builds on scalable and fully operational, i.e. essentially error-free, quantum devices. Although a quantum roadmap is currently set out, it is currently unclear whether the required technological breakthroughs are indeed fully achievable.

This project follows a novel route and seeks to identify and realise quantum resources yielding a possible quantum advantage by exploiting emergent collective phenomena in open systems. This approach does not assume the availability of perfect quantum devices, but instead exploits the competition between quantum evolution and (currently) inevitable noise. A prominent example are so-called dissipative time-crystals, which constitute a state of matter that displays persistent and well-defined temporal oscillations although their dynamical evolution is heavily influenced by noise.

The goal of this project is to identify and characterise such states of matter more generally and to perform proof-of-principle experiments that demonstrate their applicability in protocols for sensing and timekeeping. We will experimentally implement these ideas in crystals of trapped ions, which offer ultra-long-lived and state-independent hi-fidelity confinement of individually addressable quantum particles. Crystal vibrations mediate interactions among the particles and allow cooling of the many-body state, which is indispensable for long-time stability.

To accomplish this ambitious agenda, we will combine various theoretical techniques including analytical approaches, advanced numerical simulation techniques, quantum trajectory analyses and machine learning-inspired methods for parameter estimation.

All this will be achieved within our diverse and interdisciplinary consortium which gathers experts on the theory of open quantumsystems, quantum optics and condensed matter physics as well as in experimental trapped ion physics.



  • Coordinator:  Igor Lesanovsky (University of Tuebingen, DE)
  • Roberta Zambrini (CSIC, Instituto de Física Interdisciplinar y sistemas complejos, ES)
  • Markus Hennrich (Stockholm University, SE)

Call year

Call 2023

Call topic

Quantum Phenomena and Resources

Area of research

Quantum metrology sensing and imaging

Start date

September 2024


36 months

Funding support

€ 882 097

Project status

In Progress