Trapped ions as quantum bits: Essential numerical tools (Colloquium)

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K. Singer, U. Poschinger, M. Murphy, P. Ivanov, F. Ziesel, T. Calarco, F. Schmidt-Kaler


Rev. Mod. Phys. 82, 2609 (2010)

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, 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 are presented. Inverse problems when optimizing trapping potentials for ions, are solved. The presentation is complemented by a quantum-mechanical treatment of the wave-packet dynamics of a trapped ion. Efficient numerical solvers for both time-independent and time-dependent problems are provided. Shaping the motional wave functions 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.