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Summary form only given. The preparation of quantum systems in pure states is a prerequisite for coherent control. In this context laser cooling of trapped particles to the ground state of the confining potential is a powerful tool for preparing e.g. ions for quantum logic. In particular sideband cooling has been demonstrated to be the most efficient technique, allowing to achieve more than 99% of occupation of the ground state of the trap. This cooling technique relies on two conditions: the Lamb-Dicke regime, and the strong confinement regime. This latter condition, which allows the spectral resolution of individual sidebands of the motion, is however a limitation on the cooling time. We propose a model for cooling single ions inside a trap as an alternative to sideband cooling. The scheme uses electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT) in a /spl Lambda/-level scheme, where one of the transitions is dressed by a strong laser field. For detuning of the dressing laser, the absorption spectrum for the transition shows EIT when the cooling (probe) laser has detuning. Then, by tuning the cooling laser on the dark resonance (or EIT), for a suitable set of parameters and in the Lamb-Dicke regime the atoms are cooled to the ground state by the sideband transitions which are resonantly excited. The scheme achieves efficient ground state cooling and fast cooling rates using a continuous driving, instead of a pulsed one as in Raman sideband cooling schemes. An example is illustrated, where the average vibrational number is plotted as a function of the cooling time, and the final probability of occupation is plotted as a function of the vibrational state. This method may also be applied to reduce phase errors in coherent manipulations of trapped ions for quantum logic.