The Ion Trap simulates the interaction of charged
particles in a potential well. The particles interact
via the classical Coulomb force, as well as the repulsive
quantum-mechanical Pauli force , which acts at close
distances (accounting for the "collisions"
between them). The potential well is given by a force
directed radially inward that is proportional to the
distance from the origin. In addition, the motion of
the particles is damped by a term proportional to velocity,
which allows them to "settle down" into stable
and meta-stable states.
Moving in response to these forces, the particles will
eventually end up in a configuration of minimum potential,
where the net force on any given particle is essentially
zero. Interestingly, these configurations are often
highly symmetrical, and for any given combination of
particles there are often several different stable (or
meta-stable) configurations. Press "s" to
illustrate these symmetries by generating a surface
based on the positions of the particles!
Rotate the camera by clicking and dragging the mouse.
Zoom in and out by control-clicking and dragging the