Publications

2011
A Bermudez, F Jelezko, MB Plenio, and A Retzker. 10/3/2011. “Electron-Mediated Nuclear-Spin Interactions between Distant Nitrogen-Vacancy Centers.” Physical Review Letters, 107, 15. Publisher's Version Abstract
We propose a scheme enabling controlled quantum coherent interactions between separated nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond in the presence of strong magnetic fluctuations. The proposed scheme couples nuclear qubits employing the magnetic dipole-dipole interaction between the electron spins and, crucially, benefits from the suppression of the effect of environmental magnetic field fluctuations thanks to a strong microwave driving. This scheme provides a basic building block for a full-scale quantum-information processor or quantum simulator based on solid-state technology.
A del Campo, A Retzker, and MB Plenio. 8/16/2011. “The inhomogeneous Kibble-Zurek mechanism: vortex nucleation during Bose-Einstein condensation.” New Journal of Physics, 13. Publisher's Version Abstract
The Kibble–Zurek mechanism is applied to the spontaneous formation of vortices in a harmonically trapped thermal gas following a temperature quench through the critical value for Bose–Einstein condensation. Whereas in the homogeneous scenario, vortex nucleation is always expected, we show that it can be completely suppressed in the presence of the confinement potential whenever the speed of the spatial front undergoing condensation is lower than a threshold velocity. Otherwise, the interplay between the geometry and the causality leads to different scaling laws for the density of vortices as a function of the quench rate, as we also illustrate for the case of a toroidal trapping potential.
N Timoney, I Baumgart, M Johanning, AF Varon, MB Plenio, A Retzker, and C Wunderlich. 8/10/2011. “Quantum gates and memory using microwave-dressed states.” Nature, 476, 7359, Pp. 185-U83. Publisher's Version Abstract
Trapped atomic ions have been used successfully to demonstrate1 basic elements of universal quantum information processing. Nevertheless, scaling up such methods to achieve large-scale, universal quantum information processing (or more specialized quantum simulations2,3,4,5) remains challenging. The use of easily controllable and stable microwave sources, rather than complex laser systems6,7, could remove obstacles to scalability. However, the microwave approach has drawbacks: it involves the use of magnetic-field-sensitive states, which shorten coherence times considerably, and requires large, stable magnetic field gradients. Here we show how to overcome both problems by using stationary atomic quantum states as qubits that are induced by microwave fields (that is, by dressing magnetic-field-sensitive states with microwave fields). This permits fast quantum logic, even in the presence of a small (effective) Lamb–Dicke parameter (and, therefore, moderate magnetic field gradients). We experimentally demonstrate the basic building blocks of this scheme, showing that the dressed states are long lived and that coherence times are increased by more than two orders of magnitude relative to those of bare magnetic-field-sensitive states. This improves the prospects of microwave-driven ion trap quantum information processing, and offers a route to extending coherence times in all systems that suffer from magnetic noise, such as neutral atoms, nitrogen-vacancy centres, quantum dots or circuit quantum electrodynamic systems.
A Albrecht, A Retzker, C Wunderlich, and MB Plenio. 3/8/2011. “Enhancement of laser cooling by the use of magnetic gradients.” New Journal of Physics, 13. Publisher's Version Abstract
We present a laser cooling scheme for trapped ions and atoms using a combination of laser couplings and a magnetic gradient field. In a Schrieffer–Wolff transformed picture, this setup cancels the carrier and blue sideband terms completely (up to first order in the Lamb–Dicke parameter), resulting in an improved cooling behaviour compared to standard cooling schemes in the Lamb–Dicke regime (e.g. sideband cooling) and allowing cooling to the vibrational ground state. A condition for optimal cooling rates is presented and the cooling behaviour for different Lamb–Dicke parameters and spontaneous decay rates is discussed. Cooling rates of one order of magnitude less than the trapping frequency are achieved using the new cooling method. Furthermore, the scheme exhibits fast rates and low final populations, even for significant deviations from the optimal parameters, and provides good cooling rates also in the multi-particle case.
2010
G De Chiara, A del Campo, G Morigi, MB Plenio, and A Retzker. 11/29/2010. “Spontaneous nucleation of structural defects in inhomogeneous ion chains.” New Journal of Physics, 12. Publisher's Version Abstract
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.
A del Campo, G De Chiara, G Morigi, MB Plenio, and A Retzker. 8/11/2010. “Structural Defects in Ion Chains by Quenching the External Potential: The Inhomogeneous Kibble-Zurek Mechanism.” Physical Review Letters, 105, 7. Publisher's Version Abstract
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.
S Machnes, MB Plenio, B Reznik, AM Steane, and A Retzker. 5/6/2010. “Superfast Laser Cooling.” Physical Review Letters, 104, 18. Publisher's Version Abstract
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.
H Landa, S Marcovitch, A Retzker, MB Plenio, and B Reznik. 1/29/2010. “Quantum Coherence of Discrete Kink Solitons in Ion Traps.” Physical Review Letters, 104, 4. Publisher's Version Abstract
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.
J Cerrillo, A Retzker, and MB Plenio. 1/27/2010. “Fast and Robust Laser Cooling of Trapped Systems.” Physical Review Letters, 104, 4. Publisher's Version Abstract
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.
2009
A Serafini, A Retzker, and MB Plenio. 10/2/2009. “Generation of continuous variable squeezing and entanglement of trapped ions in time-varying potentials.” Quantum Information Processing, 8, 6, Pp. 619-630. Publisher's Version Abstract
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.
S Marcovitch, A Retzker, MB Plenio, and B Reznik. 7/21/2009. “Critical and noncritical long-range entanglement in Klein-Gordon fields.” Physical Review a, 80, 1. Publisher's Version Abstract
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 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).
2008
A Retzker, RC Thompson, DM Segal, and MB Plenio. 12/30/2008. “Double Well Potentials and Quantum Phase Transitions in Ion Traps.” Physical Review Letters, 101, 26. Publisher's Version Abstract
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.
I Katz, R Lifshitz, A Retzker, and R Straub. 12/8/2008. “Classical to quantum transition of a driven nonlinear nanomechanical resonator.” New Journal of Physics, 10. Publisher's Version Abstract
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 kBT. 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.
A Retzker, JI Cirac, MB Plenio, and B Reznik. 9/11/2008. “Methods for detecting acceleration radiation in a Bose-Einstein condensate.” Physical Review Letters, 101, 11. Publisher's Version Abstract
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.
2007
A Retzker and MB Plenio. 8/23/2007. “Fast cooling of trapped ions using the dynamical Stark shift.” New Journal of Physics, 9. Publisher's Version Abstract
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.
I Katz, A Retzker, R Straub, and R Lifshitz. 7/26/2007. “Signatures for a classical to quantum transition of a driven nonlinear nanomechanical resonator.” Physical Review Letters, 99, 4. Publisher's Version Abstract
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.
A Retzker, E Solano, and B Reznik. 2/13/2007. “Tavis-Cummings model and collective multiqubit entanglement in trapped ions.” Physical Review a, 75, 2. Publisher's Version Abstract
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 Retzker, MB Plenio, TE Simos, and G Maroulis. 2007. “Fast cooling of trapped ions using the dynamical stark shift.” Computation in Modern Science and Engineering Vol 2, Pts a and B, 2, Pp. 792-795. Publisher's Version Abstract
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.
2006
A Retzker, Y Aharonov, A Botero, S Nussinov, and B Reznik. 3/15/2006. “Aharonov-Bohm effect without closing a loop.” Physical Review a, 73, 3. Publisher's Version Abstract
We discuss the consequences of the Aharonov-Bohm (AB) effect in setups involving several charged particles, wherein none of the charged particles encloses a closed loop around the magnetic flux. We show that in such setups, the AB phase is encoded either in the relative phase of a bipartite or multipartite entangled photons states, or alternatively, gives rise to an overall AB phase that can be measured relative to another reference system. These setups involve processes of annihilation or creation of electron-hole pairs. We discuss the relevance of such effects in “vacuum birefringence" in QED, and comment on their connection to other known effects.