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Quantum Harmonic Oscillator State Synthesis and Analysis



Wayne M. Itano, C R. Monroe, D M. Meekhof, Dietrich G. Leibfried, B E. King, David J. Wineland


We laser-cool single beryllium ions in a Paul trap to the ground (n = 0) quantum harmonic oscillator state with greater than 90% probability. From this starting point, we can put the atom into various quantum states of motion by application of optical and rf electric elds. Some of these states resemble classical states (the coherent states), while others are intrinsically quantum, such as number states or squeezed states. We have created entangled position and spin superposition states (Schrödinger cat states), where the atom's spatial wavefunction is split into two widely separated wave packets. We have developed methods to reconstruct the density matrices and Wigner functions of arbitrary motional quantum states. These methods should make it possible to study decoherence of quantum superposition states and the transition from quantum to classical behavior. Calculations of the decoherence of superpositions of coherent states are presented.
Proceedings Title
Conf. on Atom Optics
Conference Dates
February 10-12, 1997
Conference Location
San Jose, CA
Conference Title
SPIE Proc.


Itano, W. , Monroe, C. , Meekhof, D. , Leibfried, D. , King, B. and Wineland, D. (1997), Quantum Harmonic Oscillator State Synthesis and Analysis, Conf. on Atom Optics , San Jose, CA, [online], (Accessed April 23, 2024)
Created January 1, 1997, Updated February 17, 2017