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Capturing particles in quantum circuits

EU-funded scientists developed novel technology for trapping ion particles. These 'ion traps' are devices that store charged atoms and can be used to process and transport vast amounts of information.

Industrial Technologies

Atom chips consist of planar microstructures that generate electromagnetic fields for confining and cooling neutral atoms. The NGAMIT project focused on developing new structures for trapping charged particles, such as electrons or laser-cooled ions. The ultimate aim was to enable coherent coupling of different atomic species (neutral atoms and charged particles) trapped in the same or different chips. Coherent coupling occurs through particle interaction with microwave photons. These photons transmit the quantum information between the different species in the foreseen quantum microwave network. To this end, the chips included microwave transmission lines, such as microstrips, slot lines and coplanar waveguides. Remarkably, these novel microwave traps enable simultaneous trapping of neutral atoms and charged particles with a single common technology for all trapped particles. NGAMIT designed a novel coplanar waveguide Penning trap prototype, to detect a single trapped electron or ion. This was the first Penning trap incorporating the magnetic field source in a scalable chip. Project findings resulted in 6 publications. The resulting atom-ion chip should become a powerful tool for studying several topics in atomic physics. These include collisions of ultracold atoms with ions/electrons, charge-transfer reactions, sympathetic cooling of charged particles by cold atoms, and hybrid quantum computation schemes with atoms and ions.

Keywords

Trapping, ion, atom chips, charged particle, coherent coupling, quantum microwave network, coplanar waveguide, Penning trap

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