, Volume 71, Issue 2, pp 207-210

Isotope selective loading of an ion trap using resonance-enhanced two-photon ionization

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We have demonstrated that resonance-enhanced two-photon ionization of atomic beams provides an effective tool for isotope selective loading of ions into a linear Paul trap. Using a tunable, narrow-bandwidth, continuous wave (cw) laser system for the ionization process, we have succeeded in producing Mg+ and Ca+ ions at rates controlled by the atomic beam flux, the laser intensity, and the laser frequency detuning from resonance. We have observed that with a proper choice of control parameters, it is rather easy to load a specific number of ions into a string. This observation has direct applications in quantum optics and quantum computation experiments. Furthermore, resonant photo-ionization loading facilitates the formation of large isotope-pure Coulomb crystals.

Received: 21 December 1999 / Published online: 11 May 2000