Microscopic model of electric-field-noise heating in ion traps

Author(s): A. H. Safavi-Naeini, P. Rabl, P. Weck, H. Sadeghpour

Journal: Phys. Rev. A

Volume: 84

Page(s): 023412

Year: 2011

DOI Number: 10.1103/PhysRevA.84.023412

Link: Link to publication


Motional heating of ions in microfabricated traps is one of the open challenges hindering experimental realizations of large-scale quantum processing devices. Recently, a series of measurements of the heating rates in surface-electrode ion traps characterized their frequency, distance, and temperature dependencies, but our understanding of the microscopic origin of this noise remains incomplete. In this work we develop a theoretical model for the electric field noise which is associated with a random distribution of adsorbed atoms on the trap electrode surface. By using first-principles calculations of the fluctuating dipole moments of the adsorbed atoms we evaluate the distance, frequency, and temperature dependence of the resulting electric field fluctuation spectrum. Our theory reproduces correctly the d−4 dependence with distance of the ion from the electrode surface and calculates the noise spectrum beyond the standard scenario of two-level fluctuators by incorporating all the relevant vibrational states. Our model predicts a regime of 1/f noise which commences at roughly the frequency of the fundamental phonon transition rate and a thermally activated noise spectrum which for higher temperatures exhibits a crossover as a function of frequency.

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