Photonics for Atomic Quantum Technology

National Physical Laboratory
Academic Supervisor: 
Prof. Erling Riis, University of Strathclyde

Microfabricated devices for the confinement and control of atomic particles are essential components in a range of quantum-enabled instrumentation. Applications of these devices are in atomic clocks and sensors, for use in precise positioning, navigating and timing. These chip-scale devices will also be used for high-precision quantum metrology and have been proposed as a building block for quantum computers.

The UK's National Physical Laboratory has developed a novel chip-scale ion trap device; it is a 3D MEMS structure which, under application of a radiofrequency voltage, creates a linear array of segmented potentials for storing strings of atomic ions. Irradiation by laser light cools the ions and controls their behavior in the quantum regime, which is the baseline for applications in atomic quantum technology.

Photonics is an essential discipline in advancing these devices and their use. For example, a laser, agile and stable in both intensity and frequency, is required to achieve quantum control of ions with the highest-fidelity. As the complexity of microtrap devices increases, these photonic control systems will be linked to the ions via a scalable optical interface in the device.

This project aims to augment the microtrap's photonic systems capability and apply it to quantum control of ions.