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Three-Dimensional Microfabricated ion Traps for Quantum Sensing and Information Processing



OBJECTIVE: Innovate, develop, demonstrate, and commercialize three-dimensional microfabricated ion traps needed for the robust and high-performance operation of ion-based quantum sensors, clocks, and other precision measurement systems.

DESCRIPTION: Recently several basic research advances Refs. (1-9) have been made in ion-trap quantum systems that have significantly improved the performance of these systems. These research advances include micro-fabricated surface ion traps that have been very successful in quantum technology applications. However, surface ion traps make many design compromises such as the trap depth, ion height from the surface, among others that may not be best suited for all potential quantum technology applications. In particular, anomalous ion heating and stray charges have been a significant hurdle to advancing ion trap experiments. Three-dimensional traps provide an alternate set of design parameters enabled by geometry that may overcome some of the compromises of surface ion traps. To date, typical microfabricated three-dimensional traps have been assembled by hand. The poor precision of hand assembly has significantly limited the performance of these three-dimensional traps. Modern microfabrication techniques such as additive manufacturing, three-dimensional printing, photo-chemical structuring of fused silica, among others, permit monolithic high-precision three-dimensional ion trap geometries to be pursued. In addition, three-dimensional geometry provides the space and path for innovative laser light delivery, microwave delivery, shielding, and wiring. The design trade-space provided by three-dimensional geometry, in combination with matched high-precision microfabrication techniques and new materials, provides the opportunity to develop high-performance integrated ion-trap quantum systems, while maintaining small size and form factor. There are several technical challenges that must be addressed that integrate the versatility of the design space of three-dimensional geometry with matched materials and monolithic micro-fabrication techniques. Machine-learning techniques may help optimize the design space combined with the constraints of fabrication and materials.Further research and development is needed that holistically views ion trap design and fabrication to address these challenges. For many potential applications, holistic designs must provide a high degree of optical access covering a wide range of wavelengths that can span the near ultra-violet to the near infra-red, microwave access, electrodes and electrode wiring for ion control, high operating voltages, and be compatible with other components needed for operating a complex ion-trap system. Room temperature operation is desired. Materials used must be compatible with ultrahigh vacuum processing and operation. Low residual magnetic fields are needed for magnetic sensor applications.

PHASE I: Innovations and explorations are needed with the design trade space offered by three-dimensional ion traps in combination with and matched to modern techniques for the high-precision microfabrication of these traps to develop a high-performance compact integrated ion-trap quantum system. Effort should focus on design and proof-of-concept demonstration of critical fabrication steps, materials, and system components comprising an integrated design of a three-dimensional ion trap, including optical and/or microwave access and electrode wiring. Modeling and simple experiments should be performed to demonstrate feasibility of the proposed approach. An example application of trapped ions should be identified and used for the proof-of-concept demonstration of trap performance.

PHASE II: Finalize design and build prototypes of the three-dimensional microfabricated ion-trap quantum system. Provide a demonstration deployment that validates the technology at a laboratory that does suitable ion-trap quantum system experiments. The Phase-II program shall provide a plan to transition the technology to commercial development and deployment, wherein the three-dimensional traps are available for purchase by the user community.

PHASE III: The three-dimensional ion traps developed in Phase II will provide a versatile platform for the successful development and demonstration of quantum sensors, quantum computing, and other precision measurement systems based on ion chip traps. Potential customers include researchers in universities, industry, DoD laboratories, and DoD contractors and system integrators. Partnerships with system integrators developing gravity gradiometers, timing systems, navigation systems, and similar such sensor and measurement systems is another Phase III avenue. Other Phase III opportunities include the leverage of IP generated from component technology for other applications requiring monolithic precision microfabrication requiring high optical, microwave, or wiring access. Further commercial applications could include the mining industry.

KEYWORDS: ion traps, three-dimensional ion traps, quantum sensors, quantum computing


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