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Published June 2009 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

An ion-trap phonon laser


Cooling of atoms and ions using a red-detuned laser has had a profound impact on science and technology. In this work simultaneous laser cooling and blue-detuned laser pumping of a Mg+ ion in a Paul trap is studied. Blue-detuned pumping is conventionally referred to as the heating regime, and in early work, remarkably complex behaviors (bistability and limit cycles) have been associated with this regime. These behaviors have so far not been fully explained. Here, it is shown that blue-detuned pumping, as opposed to heating, causes stimulated emission of center-of-mass phonons, leading to coherent oscillatory motion of the ion in analogy with a laser. Mechanical amplification is calculated as well as the threshold pumping condition for oscillation. A single ion in a linear radio-frequency trap is studied to verify these predictions. Blue-detuned pumping of the magnesium D2 transition at 279.6 nm provides amplification along the long axis of the ion trap so as to excite only axial oscillations. A slightly off-axis, red-detuned beam cools the center-of-mass motion to approximately 1 mK.

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© 2009 IEEE.

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