. 11/29/2010. “
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.
. 8/11/2010. “
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.
. 5/6/2010. “
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.
. 1/29/2010. “
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.
. 1/27/2010. “
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.