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Coupled quantized mechanical oscillators



Kenton R. Brown, Christian Ospelkaus, Yves Colombe, Andrew C. Wilson, Dietrich G. Leibfried, David J. Wineland


The harmonic oscillator is one of the simplest physical systems but also one of the most fundamental. It is ubiquitous in nature, often serving as an approximation for a more complicated system or as a building block for larger models. Realizations of harmonic oscillators in the quantum regime include electromagnetic fields in a cavity [1 3] and the mechanical modes of a trapped atom [4] or macroscopic solid [5]. Quantized interaction between two motional modes of an individual trapped ion has been achieved by coupling through optical fields [6], and entangled motion of two ions in separate locations has been achieved indirectly through their internal states [7]. To date, direct controllable coupling between quantized mechanical oscillators held in separate locations has not been realized. Here we implement this coupling through the mutual Coulomb interaction of two ions held in trapping potentials separated by 40 um. By tuning the confining wells into resonance, energy is exchanged between the ions at the level of a few quanta, establishing that direct coherent motional coupling is possible for separately trapped ions. The system demonstrates a building block for quantum information processing and quantum simulation. More broadly, this work is a natural precursor to experiments into hybrid quantum systems, such as coupling a trapped ion to a quantized macroscopic mechanical or electrical oscillator [8 12].


Coulomb interaction, coupled oscillators, harmonic oscillator, ion trap, mechanical oscillator, quantum oscillator, trapped ion


Brown, K. , Ospelkaus, C. , Colombe, Y. , Wilson, A. , Leibfried, D. and Wineland, D. (2011), Coupled quantized mechanical oscillators, Nature, [online], (Accessed July 20, 2024)


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Created March 10, 2011, Updated February 19, 2017