Quantum optics in ion traps

At LIAF (Laboratorio de Iones y Átomos Fríos ) we develop experiments on atomic physics at the quantum level. We use trapped ions as they are one of the most sensitive systems to carry out diverse precision measurements. Since they are atomic systems isolated in an ultra-high vacuum chamber, they become a great platform to perform quantum optics experiments to study the interaction between light and matter at the very fundamental level.

We currently have a working ring-shaped Paul trap where we do experiments with trapped Calcium ions. We are able to trap a single cold ion, or even clusters of two up to a few tens of ions forming crystalline structures. 

In this trap, we perform spectroscopy of the dipolar transitions of calcium and study the coherent population trapping (CPT) phenomena. We are able to prepare dark states of the ion and study the atomic spectra, which are sensitive to the polarization of the beams. We are looking forward to study the polarization profile of complex beams like vector beams, which show counter-intuitive behaviors when are highly focused.

We are also preparing experiments to study the orbital angular momentum transfer of twisted light to the motional states of trapped ions. Because of the ring-shaped geometry of the trap, we can activate rotational modes of the ion crystals and do spectroscopy of these rotations, as well as study the phase transitions that emerge in this structures.

Twisted light beats quantum light | Ars Technica

At the laboratory we also have a linear Paul trap ready to begin experiments with trapped Ytterbium ions. We are planning to perform high-resolution coherent spectroscopy of the quadrupolar and octupolar forbidden transitions of Ytterbium and study its applications to quantum metrology. Particularly we are interested in performing spectroscopy with structured light beams and how they can improve the relative uncertainties of frequency standards based on trapped ions.

See the lab’s progress since its foundation in 2015: LIAF-timeline.