Colloquium: Trapped ions as quantum bits -- essential numerical tools

Research paper by Kilian Singer, Ulrich Poschinger, Michael Murphy, Peter Ivanov, Frank Ziesel, Tommaso Calarco, Ferdinand Schmidt-Kaler

Indexed on: 15 Jun '10Published on: 15 Jun '10Published in: Quantum Physics


Trapped, laser-cooled atoms and ions are quantum systems which can be experimentally controlled with an as yet unmatched degree of precision. Due to the control of the motion and the internal degrees of freedom, these quantum systems can be adequately described by a well known Hamiltonian. In this colloquium, we present powerful numerical tools for the optimization of the external control of the motional and internal states of trapped neutral atoms, explicitly applied to the case of trapped laser-cooled ions in a segmented ion-trap. We then delve into solving inverse problems, when optimizing trapping potentials for ions. Our presentation is complemented by a quantum mechanical treatment of the wavepacket dynamics of a trapped ion. Efficient numerical solvers for both time-independent and time-dependent problems are provided. Shaping the motional wavefunctions and optimizing a quantum gate is realized by the application of quantum optimal control techniques. The numerical methods presented can also be used to gain an intuitive understanding of quantum experiments with trapped ions by performing virtual simulated experiments on a personal computer. Code and executables are supplied as supplementary online material (http://kilian-singer.de/ent).