Letter | Published:

Stylus ion trap for enhanced access and sensing

Nature Physics volume 5, pages 551554 (2009) | Download Citation

Abstract

Small, controllable, highly accessible quantum systems can serve as probes at the single-quantum level to study a number of physical effects, for example in quantum optics or for electric- and magnetic-field sensing. The applicability of trapped atomic ions as probes is highly dependent on the measurement situation at hand and thus calls for specialized traps. Previous approaches for ion traps with enhanced optical access included traps consisting of a single ring electrode1,2 or two opposing endcap electrodes2,3. Other possibilities are planar trap geometries, which have been investigated for Penning traps4,5 and radiofrequency trap arrays6,7,8. By not having the electrodes lie in a common plane, the optical access can be substantially increased. Here, we report the fabrication and experimental characterization of a novel radiofrequency ion trap geometry. It has a relatively simple structure and provides largely unrestricted optical and physical access to the ion, of up to 96% of the total 4π solid angle in one of the three traps tested. The trap might find applications in quantum optics and field sensing. As a force sensor, we estimate sensitivity to forces smaller than 1 yN Hz−1/2.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by IARPA and the NIST Quantum Information Program. We thank C. Ospelkaus and S. Ospelkaus for comments on the manuscript.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Institute of Optics, Information and Photonics, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Staudtstr. 7 | B2, 91058 Erlangen, Germany

    • Robert Maiwald
    •  & Gerd Leuchs
  2. Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Günther-Scharowsky-Str. 1, Bldg. 24, 91058 Erlangen, Germany

    • Robert Maiwald
    •  & Gerd Leuchs
  3. Time and Frequency Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 325 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado 80305, USA

    • Dietrich Leibfried
    • , Joe Britton
    • , James C. Bergquist
    •  & David J. Wineland

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Contributions

Experimental work by R.M., J.B., D.L. and J.C.B. Theoretical work by D.L., R.M., D.J.W. and G.L.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Robert Maiwald.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys1311

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