A monolithic array of three-dimensional ion traps fabricated with conventional semiconductor technology


The coherent control of quantum-entangled states of trapped ions1 has led to significant advances in quantum information2, quantum simulation3, quantum metrology4,5 and laboratory tests of quantum mechanics6 and relativity7. All of the basic requirements for processing quantum information with arrays of ion-based quantum bits (qubits) have been proven in principle8. However, so far, no more than 14 ion-based qubits have been entangled with the ion-trap approach9, so there is a clear need for arrays of ion traps that can handle a much larger number of qubits10. Traps consisting of a two-dimensional electrode array11 have undergone significant development, but three-dimensional trap geometries can create a superior confining potential. However, existing three-dimensional approaches, as used in the most advanced experiments with trap arrays8,12, cannot be scaled up to handle greatly increased numbers of ions. Here, we report a monolithic three-dimensional ion microtrap array etched from a silica-on-silicon wafer using conventional semiconductor fabrication technology. We have confined individual 88Sr+ ions and strings of up to 14 ions in a single segment of the array. We have measured motional frequencies, ion heating rates and storage times. Our results demonstrate that it should be possible to handle several tens of ion-based qubits with this approach.

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Figure 1: Concept of the monolithic microtrap array.
Figure 2: Microtrap chip and trapped ions.
Figure 3: Measured ion motional frequency as a function of applied radiofrequency amplitude.
Figure 4: Single ion excitation probability as a function of laser detuning in zero magnetic field.


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The authors thank F. Schmidt-Kaler, C. Wunderlich, W. Hänsel, R. Blatt, M. Drewsen, D. Lucas, D Allcock and D. Moehring for useful discussions. The authors also acknowledge support from the EU STREP project MICROTRAP (IST-517675), the EU collaborative project SCALA (IST-015714) and the Pathfinder Metrology Programme of the UK National Measurement Office.

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P.S. fabricated the ion trap chips. G.W., P.G. and A.G.S. contributed to the experimental set-up. G.W. and A.G.S. performed the measurements. A.G.S. wrote the manuscript, with contributions from the other authors.

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Correspondence to Alastair G. Sinclair.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Wilpers, G., See, P., Gill, P. et al. A monolithic array of three-dimensional ion traps fabricated with conventional semiconductor technology. Nature Nanotech 7, 572–576 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2012.126

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