Currently, laser cooling schemes are fundamentally based on the weak coupling regime. This requirement sets the trap frequency as an upper bound to the cooling rate. In this work we present a numerical study that shows the feasibility of cooling in the strong-coupling regime which then allows cooling rates that are faster than the trap frequency with experimentally feasible parameters. The scheme presented here can be applied to trapped atoms or ions as well as to mechanical oscillators. It can also cool medium sized ion chains close to the ground state.

We propose to realize quantized discrete kinks with cold trapped ions. We show that long-lived solitonlike configurations are manifested as deformations of the zigzag structure in the linear Paul trap, and are topologically protected in a circular trap with an odd number of ions. We study the quantum-mechanical time evolution of a high-frequency, gap separated internal mode of a static kink and find long coherence times when the system is cooled to the Doppler limit. The spectral properties of the internal modes make them ideally suited for manipulation using current technology. This suggests that ion traps can be used to test quantum-mechanical effects with solitons and explore ideas for the utilization of the solitonic internal modes as carriers of quantum information.

Structural defects in ion crystals can be formed during a linear quench of the transverse trapping frequency across the mechanical instability from a linear chain to a zigzag structure. The density of defects after the sweep can be conveniently described by the Kibble–Zurek mechanism (KZM). In particular, the number of kinks in the zigzag ordering can be derived from a time-dependent Ginzburg–Landau equation for the order parameter, here the zigzag transverse size, under the assumption that the ions are continuously laser cooled. In a linear Paul trap, the transition becomes inhomogeneous, since the charge density is larger in the center and more rarefied at the edges. During the linear quench, the mechanical instability is first crossed in the center of the chain, and a front, at which the mechanical instability is crossed during the quench, is identified that propagates along the chain from the center to the edges. If the velocity of this front is smaller than the sound velocity, the dynamics become adiabatic even in the thermodynamic limit and no defect is produced. Otherwise, the nucleation of kinks is reduced with respect to the case in which the charges are homogeneously distributed, leading to a new scaling of the density of kinks with the quenching rate. The analytical predictions are verified numerically by integrating the Langevin equations of motion of the ions, in the presence of a time-dependent transverse confinement. We argue that the non-equilibrium dynamics of an ion chain in a Paul trap constitutes an ideal scenario to test the inhomogeneous extension of the KZM, which lacks experimental evidence to date.

The nonequilibrium dynamics of an ion chain in a highly anisotropic trap is studied when the transverse trap frequency is quenched across the value at which the chain undergoes a continuous phase transition from a linear to a zigzag structure. Within Landau theory, an equation for the order parameter, corresponding to the transverse size of the zigzag structure, is determined when the vibrational motion is damped via laser cooling. The number of structural defects produced during a linear quench of the transverse trapping frequency is predicted and verified numerically. It is shown to obey the scaling predicted by the Kibble-Zurek mechanism, when extended to take into account the spatial inhomogeneities of the ion chain in a linear Paul trap.

We present a robust and fast laser cooling scheme suitable for trapped ions, atoms, or cantilevers. Based on quantum interference, generated by a special laser configuration, it is able to rapidly cool the system such that the final phonon occupation vanishes to zeroth order in the Lamb-Dicke parameter in contrast to existing cooling schemes. Furthermore, it is robust under conditions of fluctuating laser intensity and frequency, thus making it a viable candidate for experimental applications.

We investigate the generation of squeezing and entanglement for the motional degrees of freedom of ions in linear traps, confined by time-varying and oscillating potentials, comprised of a DC and an AC component. We show that high degrees of squeezing and entanglement can be obtained by controlling either the DC or the AC trapping component (or both), and by exploiting transient dynamics in regions where the ions’ motion is unstable, without any added optical control. Furthermore, we investigate the time-scales over which the potentials should be switched in order for the manipulations to be most effective.

We present a detailed study on the possibility of manipulating quantum information encoded in the 'radial' modes of arrays of trapped ions (i.e. in the ions' oscillations orthogonal to the trap's main axis). In such systems, because of the tightness of transverse confinement, the radial modes pertaining to different ions can be addressed individually. In the first part of the paper we show that, if local control of the radial trapping frequencies is available, *any* linear optical and squeezing operation on the locally defined modes—on single as well as on many modes—can be reproduced by manipulating the frequencies. Then, we proceed to describe schemes apt to generate unprecedented degrees of bipartite and multipartite continuous variable (CV) entanglement under realistic noisy working conditions and even restricting only to a global control of the trapping frequencies. Furthermore, we consider the transmission of the quantum information encoded in the radial modes along the array of ions, and show it to be possible to a remarkable degree of accuracy, for both finite-dimensional and CV quantum states. Finally, as an application, we show that the states which can be generated in this setting allow for the violation of multipartite non-locality tests, by feasible displaced parity measurements. Such a demonstration would be a first test of quantum non-locality for 'massive' degrees of freedom (i.e. for degrees of freedom describing the motion of massive particles).

We investigate the entanglement between two spatially separated intervals in the vacuum state of a free one-dimensional Klein-Gordon field by means of explicit computations in the continuum limit of the linear harmonic chain. We demonstrate that the entanglement, which we quantify by the logarithmic negativity, is finite with no further need for renormalization. We find that in the critical regime, the quantum correlations are scale invariant as they depend only on the ratio of distance to length. They decay much faster than the classical correlations as in the critical limit long-range entanglement decays exponentially for separations larger than the size of the blocks, while classical correlations follow a power-law decay. With decreasing distance of the blocks, the entanglement diverges as a power law in the distance. The noncritical regime manifests richer behavior, as the entanglement depends both on the size of the blocks and on their separation. In correspondence with the von Neumann entropy also long-range entanglement distinguishes critical from noncritical systems.

We propose and study methods for detecting Unruh-like acceleration radiation effects in a Bose-Einstein condensate in a (1+1)-dimensional setup. The Bogoliubov vacuum of a Bose-Einstein condensate is used to simulate a scalar field theory, and accelerated atom dots or optical lattices serve as detectors of phonon radiation due to acceleration effects. In particular, we study the dispersive effects of the Bogoliubov spectrum on the ideal case of exact thermalization. Our results suggest that acceleration radiation effects can be observed using currently accessible experimental methods.

We demonstrate that the radial degree of freedom of strings of trapped ions in the quantum regime may be prepared and controlled accurately through the variation of the external trapping potential while at the same time its properties are measurable with high spatial and temporal resolution. This provides a new testbed giving access to static and dynamical properties of the physics of quantum-many-body systems and quantum phase transitions that are hard to simulate on classical computers. Furthermore, it allows for the creation of double well potentials with experimentally accessible tunneling rates, with applications in testing the foundations of quantum physics and precision sensing.

Much experimental effort is invested these days in fabricating nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) that are sufficiently small, cold and clean, so as to approach quantum mechanical behavior as their typical quantum energy scale

becomes comparable with that of the ambient thermal energy

*k*_{B}*T*. Such systems will hopefully enable one to observe the quantum behavior of human-made objects, and test some of the basic principles of quantum mechanics. Here, we expand and elaborate on our recent suggestion (Katz

*et al* 2007

*Phys. Rev. Lett.* **99** 040404) to exploit the nonlinear nature of a nanoresonator in order to observe its transition into the quantum regime. We study this transition for an isolated resonator, as well as one that is coupled to a heat bath at either zero or finite temperature. We argue that by exploiting nonlinearities, quantum dynamics can be probed using technology that is almost within reach. Numerical solutions of the equations of motion display the first quantum corrections to classical dynamics that appear as the classical-to-quantum transition occurs. This provides practical signatures to look for in future experiments with NEMS resonators.

We present a method of generating collective multiqubit entanglement via global addressing of an ion chain performing *blue* and *red* Tavis-Cummings interactions, where several qubits are coupled to a collective motional mode. We show that a wide family of Dicke states and irradiant states can be generated by single global laser pulses, unitarily or helped with suitable postselection techniques.

A laser cooling scheme for trapped ions is presented which is based on the fast dynamical Stark shift gate, described in (Jonathan *et al* 2000 *Phys. Rev.* A **62** 042307). Since this cooling method does not contain an off resonant carrier transition, low final temperatures are achieved even in a traveling wave light field. The proposed method may operate in either pulsed or continuous mode and is also suitable for ion traps using microwave addressing in strong magnetic field gradients.

A laser cooling scheme for trapped ions is presented which is based on the fast dynamical Stark shift gate, described in (Jonathan *et al* 2000 *Phys. Rev.* A **62** 042307). Since this cooling method does not contain an off resonant carrier transition, low final temperatures are achieved even in a traveling wave light field. The proposed method may operate in either pulsed or continuous mode and is also suitable for ion traps using microwave addressing in strong magnetic field gradients.

We seek the first indications that a nanoelectromechanical system (NEMS) is entering the quantum domain as its mass and temperature are decreased. We find them by studying the transition from classical to quantum behavior of a driven nonlinear Duffing resonator. Numerical solutions of the equations of motion, operating in the bistable regime of the resonator, demonstrate that the quantum Wigner function gradually deviates from the corresponding classical phase-space probability density. These clear differences that develop due to nonlinearity can serve as experimental signatures, in the near future, that NEMS resonators are entering the quantum domain.