Single trapped cold ions: a testing ground for quantum mechanics

Sabrina Maniscalco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In this article I review some results obtained during my PhD work in the group of Professor Messina, at the University of Palermo. I discuss some proposals aimed at exploring fundamental issues of quantum theory, e.g. entanglement and quantum superpositions, in the context of single trapped ions. This physical context turns out to be extremely well suited both for studying fundamental features of quantum mechanics, such as the quantum–classical border, and for technological applications such as quantum logic gates and quantum registers. I focus on some procedures for engineering nonclassical states of the vibrational motion of the centre of mass of the ion. I consider both the case in which the ion interacts with classical laser beams and the case of interaction with a quantized mode of light. In particular, I discuss the generation of Schrödinger cat-like states, Bell states and Greenberger–Horn–Zeilinger states. The schemes for generating nonclassical states stem from two different quantum processes: the parity effect and the quantum state manipulation via quantum non-demolition measurement. Finally, I consider a microscopic theory of the interaction of a quantum harmonic oscillator (the centre of mass of the ion in the trapped ion context) with a bosonic thermal environment. Using an exact approach to the dynamics, I discuss a quantum theory of heating of trapped ions able to describe both the short time non-Markovian regime and the thermalization process. I conclude showing briefly how the trapped ion systems can be used as simulators of key models of open quantum systems such as the Caldeira–Leggett model.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Optics B: Quantum and Semiclassical Optics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


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