Applied Physics B

, Volume 107, Issue 4, pp 1175–1180 | Cite as

Background-free detection of trapped ions

  • N. M. Linke
  • D. T. C. Allcock
  • D. J. Szwer
  • C. J. Ballance
  • T. P. Harty
  • H. A. Janacek
  • D. N. Stacey
  • A. M. Steane
  • D. M. LucasEmail author


We demonstrate a Doppler cooling and detection scheme for ions with low-lying D levels which almost entirely suppresses scattered laser light background, while retaining a high fluorescence signal and efficient cooling. We cool a single ion with a laser on the \(^{2}\mathrm{S}_{\mbox{\tiny$1/2$}}\leftrightarrow {^{2}\mathrm{P}}_{\mbox{\tiny$1/2$}}\) transition as usual, but repump via the \(^{2}\mathrm{P}_{\mbox{\tiny$3/2$}}\) level. By filtering out light on the cooling transition and detecting only the fluorescence from the \(^{2}\mathrm{P}_{\mbox{\tiny$3/2$}}\rightarrow {^{2}\mathrm{S}}_{\mbox{\tiny$1/2$}}\) decays, we suppress the scattered laser light background count rate to 1 s−1 while maintaining a signal of 29000 s−1 with moderate saturation of the cooling transition. This scheme will be particularly useful for experiments where ions are trapped in close proximity to surfaces, such as the trap electrodes in microfabricated ion traps, which leads to high background scatter from the cooling beam.


Dark Count Trap Electrode Fluorescence Rate Doppler Cool Repumping Laser 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are extremely grateful to Sandia National Laboratories for their fabrication of the trap. The optical Bloch equation simulations were implemented using NAG software. We would also like to acknowledge Alice Burrell for the construction of the imaging system, Graham Quelch for laboratory support and Luca Guidoni for comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by the EPSRC Science and Innovation programme.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. M. Linke
    • 1
  • D. T. C. Allcock
    • 1
  • D. J. Szwer
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. J. Ballance
    • 1
  • T. P. Harty
    • 1
  • H. A. Janacek
    • 1
  • D. N. Stacey
    • 1
  • A. M. Steane
    • 1
  • D. M. Lucas
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsUniversity of DurhamDurhamUK

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