Described in a forthcoming issue of Physical Review Letters,* the new device is a 1-millimeter-square ion trap with a built-in optical fiber. The authors use ions as quantum bits (qubits) to store information in experimental quantum computing, which may someday solve certain problems that are intractable today. An ion can be adjustably positioned 80 to 100 micrometers from an optical fiber, which detects the ion's fluorescence signals indicating the qubit's information content.
"The design is helpful because of the tight coupling between the ion and the fiber, and also because it's small, so you can get a lot of fibers on a chip," says first author Aaron VanDevender, a NIST postdoctoral researcher.
NIST scientists demonstrated the new device using magnesium ions. Light emitted by an ion passes through a hole in an electrode and is collected in the fiber below the electrode surface (see image). By contrast, conventional ion traps use large external lenses typically located 5 centimeters away from the ions—about 500 times farther than the fiber—to collect the fluorescence light. Optical fibers may handle large numbers of ions more easily than the bulky optical systems, because multiple fibers may eventually be attached to a single ion trap.
The fiber method currently captures less light than the lens system but is adequate for detecting quantum information because ions are extremely bright, producing millions of photons (individual particles of light) per second, VanDevender says. The authors expect to boost efficiency by shaping the fiber tip and using anti-reflection coating on surfaces. The new trap design is intended as a prototype for eventually pairing single ions with single photons, to make an interface enabling matter qubits to swap information with photon qubits in a quantum computing and communications network. Photons are used as qubits in quantum communications, the most secure method known for ensuring the privacy of a communications channel. In a quantum network, the information encoded in the "spins" of individual ions could be transferred to, for example, electric field orientations of individual photons for transport to other processing regions of the network.
The research was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, National Security Agency, Office of Naval Research, Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, and Sandia National Laboratories.
*A.P. VanDevender, Y. Colombe, J. Amini, D. Leibfried and D.J. Wineland. Efficient fiber optic detection of trapped ion fluorescence. Physical Review Letters. Forthcoming.
Laura Ost | Newswise Science News
23.01.2018 | Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)
New for three types of extreme-energy space particles: Theory shows unified origin
23.01.2018 | Penn State
Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.
Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
23.01.2018 | Life Sciences
23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences
23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy