Measurements of trapped-ion heating rates with exchangeable surfaces in close proximity
Dustin A. Hite, Kyle S. McKay, Shlomi Salman Kotler, Dietrich G. Leibfried, David J. Wineland, David P. Pappas
Electric-field noise from the surfaces of ion-trap electrodes couples to the ions charge causing heating of the ions motional modes. This heating limits the fidelity of quantum gates implemented in quantum information processing experiments. The exact mechanism that gives rise to electric-field noise from surfaces is not well-understood and remains an active area of research. In this work, we detail experiments intended to measure ion motional heating rates with exchangeable surfaces positioned in close proximity to the ion, as a sensor to electric-field noise. We have prepared samples with various surface conditions, characterized in situ with scanned probe microscopy and electron spectroscopy, ranging in degrees of cleanliness and structural order. The heating-rate data, however, show no significant difference as expected for the disparate surfaces probed. These results suggest that the driving mechanism for electric-field noise from surfaces is more than that due to thermal excitations alone.