Abstract

Trapped, laser-cooled atoms and ions produce intense fluorescence of the order 107108 photons per second. Detection of this fluorescence enables efficient measurement of the quantum state of qubits based on trapped atoms. It is desirable to collect a large fraction of the photons to make the detection faster and more reliable. Additionally, efficient fluorescence collection can improve the speed and fidelity of remote ion entanglement and quantum gates. Refractive and reflective optics, and optical cavities have all been used to collect the trapped ion fluorescence with up to about 10% efficiency. Here we show a novel ion trap design that incorporates a metallic spherical mirror as the integral part of the trap itself, being its RF electrode. The mirror geometry enables up to 35% solid angle collection of trapped ion fluorescence. The movable central pin electrode of this trap allows precise placement of the ion at the focus of the reflector. We characterize the performance of the mirror, and measure 25% collection efficiency, likely limited by the imperfections of the mirror surface. We also study the properties of the images of single ions formed by the spherical mirror and apply aberration correction with an aspherical element placed outside the vacuum system. Owing to the simplicity of its design, this trap structure can be adapted for microfabrication and integration into more complex trap architectures.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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