Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Babikov, Dmitri

Second Advisor

Reid, Scott A.

Third Advisor

Timerghazin, Qadir


A string of cold ions confined in a linear trap represents a man-made quantum object with a broad range of applications in atomic and molecular spectroscopy, such as high-precision measurement of atomic properties. An efficient isolation from the environment guarantees excellent coherent properties of such systems and makes them suitable for practical realization of the quantum information processing. The pioneering theoretical [Cirac and Zoller] and experimental [Wineland and Monroe] work in 1990s resulted in the explosive expansion of this field during the last decade. In this dissertation an alternative new method for controlling the quantized motional/vibrational states of ions in a trap is explored theoretically. It is proposed to create small anharmonicity in the trapping potential which would modify the spectrum of states and allow addressing the state-to-state transitions selectively. In this approach all ions remain in the ground electronic state and their motion is controlled adiabatically and coherently by applying the optimally shaped electric fields (RF). The optimal control theory, accurate numerical calculation of the energies and wavefunctions, and numerical propagation of wave packets are employed. Two sources of vibrational anharmonicity are studied: the intrinsic Coulomb anharmonicity due to the ion-ion interactions and the external anharmonicity of the trapping potential. It is shown that the magnitude of Coulomb anharmonicity is insufficient for the control. In contrast, anharmonicity of the trapping potential allows controlling the motion of ions very accurately. It is demonstrated that one ion in a slightly anharmonic trap can be easily controlled and used to represent one qubit. A multi-qubit system can be created by employing a long progression of states of a single ion, or by trapping multiple ions and controlling several normal vibration modes of the ion string. Up to four qubits are modeled in this work and accurate pulses are optimized for a set of universal quantum gates: NOT, conditional NOT (CNOT) and Hadamard transformation. The control field for Shor's algorithm (quantum algorithm for factorization onto prime numbers) is also obtained. It is demonstrated that a careful choice of system properties allows achieving very high accuracy of qubit transformations, up to 0.999.

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Chemistry Commons