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Cryogenic Trapped-Ion System for Large Scale Quantum Simulation

March 22, 2021 - 12:00pm
Wen Lin Tan

Dissertation Committee Chair: Prof. Christopher Monroe


Professor Norbert M. Linke

Professor James Williams

Professor Alexey Gorshkov

Professor Christopher Jarzynski


One of the useful applications of a quantum computer is quantum simulation. While the quest for a universal quantum computer is still undergoing research, analog quantum simulators can study specific quantum models that are classically challenging or even intractable. These quantum simulators provide the opportunity to test particular quantum models and the possibility to scale up the system size to gain insight into more exciting physics. The analog quantum simulator featured in this thesis is a cryogenic trapped-ion system. It serves the purpose of a large-scale quantum simulation by reducing the background pressure for storing a large ion chain with a long lifetime. This work presents the construction and characterization of this cryogenic apparatus and its performance as a trapped-ion quantum simulator.

Quantum information is encoded in the atomic state of the ion chain. The entangling operation in trapped ions uses the collective motion of the ion chain for quantum simulation. Therefore, it is imperative to develop a cooling mechanism to prepare the ion chain to near motional ground-state for achieving high fidelity operations. Here,  with this system, we explore another ground-state  cooling  mechanism  with  electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT) in a four-level system ($^{171}\text{Yb}^{+}$) EIT cooling allows simultaneous ground-state cooling across a bandwidth of motional modes, which it is useful in a large ion chain. Finally, we report the observation of magnetic domain-wall confinement in interacting spins chains. Such confinement is analogous to the color confinement in quantum chromodynamics (QCD), where hadrons are produced by quark confinement. We study the implications of such confinement in many-body spin system by observing the information propagation after applying a quantum quench of the confinement Hamiltonian. We also measure the excitation energy of domain-wall bound states from non-equilibrium quench dynamics. At the end of this experiment, we explore the number of domain wall excitations created with different quench parameters, which can be challenging to model with classical computers.