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Quantum Engineering

LDRD Program


Microfabricated Ion Traps

SEM image showing the metal overhang from the supporting oxide.
SEM image showing the metal overhang from the supporting oxide.

Electrode Layout.
Electrode Layout.

At Sandia National Laboratories, numerous teams and disciplines are engaged in attempting to move significantly closer to the actualization of quantum information processing.

Trapped ions are among the most promising physical realizations of quantum bits or qubits.  We are developing micro-traps for the electrostatic confinement (trapping) of ions.  Our work applies the device physics principles and the engineering techniques for fabricating MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) and Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) devices, utilizing Sandia’s Microsystems and Engineering Sciences Applications (MESA) microfabrication facilities. 

For trapped ions to be a suitable platform for quantum information processing, a scalable in-principle technique for trap fabrication has to be demonstrated. The surface geometry is the most amenable to microfabrication, but it poses challenges related to the low trap depth and difficulty in making a working shuttling junction.

To address the low trap depth issue, planar electrode configurations with overhung electrode structures were designed to allow over-coating of the micro-trap electrodes and the chip surface. The micro-traps also include a through-hole to allow for loading of ions and for 3-D application of the laser light necessary for the cooling and manipulation of the trapped ions.

We have demonstrated a microfabricated surface electrode trap that addresses this first challenge, and given its consistency of fabrication and trap performance, can be used to create more sophisticated structures with similarly repeatable performance.

We have also successfully demonstrated an integrated optical system for collecting the fluorescence from a trapped ion.

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