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Light with orbital angular momentum interacting with trapped ions


We study the interaction of light beams carrying angular momentum with a single, trapped and well localized ion. We provide a detailed calculation of selection rules and excitation probabilities for quadrupole transitions. The results show the dependencies on the angular momentum and polarization of the laser beam as well as the direction of the quantization magnetic field. In order to optimally observe the specific effects, focusing the angular momentum beam close to the diffraction limit is required. We discuss a protocol for examining experimentally the effects on the S1/2 to D5/2 transition using a 40Ca+ ion. Various applications and advantages are expected when using light carrying angular momentum: in quantum information processing, where qubit states of ion crystals are controlled, parasitic light shifts could be avoided as the ion is excited in the dark zone of the beam at zero electric field amplitude. Such interactions also open the door to high dimensional entanglement between light and matter. In spectroscopy one might access transitions which have escaped excitation so far due to vanishing transition dipole moments.

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Correspondence to C.T. Schmiegelow.

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Schmiegelow, C., Schmidt-Kaler, F. Light with orbital angular momentum interacting with trapped ions. Eur. Phys. J. D 66, 157 (2012).

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  • Topical issue: High Dimensional Quantum Entanglement. Guest editors: Sonja Franke-Arnold, Alessandra Gatti and Nicolas Treps