University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > AMOP list > A single ion in the focus of a parabolic mirror - Building block towards efficient free-space light-matter interaction

A single ion in the focus of a parabolic mirror - Building block towards efficient free-space light-matter interaction

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An optimized process of light-matter interaction is crucial for applications such as quantum memories, gate operations and entanglement distribution. Our contribution to this field focuses on the efficient interaction of light with single atomic ions in free space. This approach requires mode-matching of the incoming light field to a dipole transition of the ion. For this purpose we prepare a spatially and temporally formed light mode that has – after focusing – an almost perfect overlap with the emission of a linear dipole. With a specialized ion trap we place a single 174Yb+ ion in the focus of a parabolic mirror covering 81 of the solid angle surrounding the ion. This set-up allows one to directly interface the tailored light mode with the single ion and, in reverse, to collect almost 55 of the light emitted by the ion, thus surpassing the theoretical limit of a lens-based set-up. We use the saturation of the ion’s cooling transition as a measure for the light-matter interaction efficiency to characterize the quality of the incoming light mode and the spread of the parabolic mirror’s focal spot. Additionally, imaging the ion’s fluorescence via the parabolic mirror yields the highest resolution achieved so far with single atoms.

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