The Solid-State Spectroscopy group in Laser Physics has been studying defects in solids, especially rare-ions, for over 30 years. Due to their highly shielded but optically accessible 4f levels, these ions yield a unique combination of atom-like optical properties in a solid-state environment. Beyond their usefulness a tool for understanding solids, the rare-earths have gained traction as a key element in several upcoming quantum information technologies.
In this talk I will give a broad overview of what we do with rare-earths, why we do it, and what outcomes we hope to achieve. It will include an introduction to the basic physics we care about, the main experimental techniques we use, and where our research directions fit within the 'quantum' landscape.