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Towards an optical frequency standard based on a single Ca/sup +/ ion in a miniature trap

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5 Author(s)
M. Knoop ; Provence Univ., Marseille, France ; M. Herbane ; M. Houssin ; M. Vedel
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Summary form only given. Among the ions proposed for a frequency standard in the optical domain, Ca/sup +/ is one of the most favorable candidates due to its wavelengths accessible with all-solid-state laser systems. This allows to imagine an ultimate experimental setup being simple and compact. The 4S/sub 1/2/-3D/sub 5/2/ electric quadrupole transition at 729 nm with a natural linewidth below 1 Hz serves as clock transition, while laser cooling on one of the resonance lines is carried out at 397 nm. To obtain the small spectral linewidths necessary for a frequency standard performance, it is essential to reduce the residual Doppler broadening caused by the RF heating in the Paul trap. The first-order Doppler broadening of a single ion can be eliminated in the Lamb-Dicke regime where the ion's amplitude of motion is inferior to the emitted wavelength. The main condition for the access of this frequency modulation regime is a high motional frequency of the trapped ion. This is more easily obtained in a low capacitance device and thus traps with reduced dimensions are required. We have set up a miniature ion trap of the Paul-Straubel-type. The stored ions are observed by a photomultiplier in the photon-counting mode as well as by an intensified CCD camera, permitting the visualization of their spatial behavior. Laser cooling of the Ca/sup +/ ions is carried out on the 4S/sub 1/2/-4P/sup 1/2/ resonance line at 397 nm. Progress on the characterization of the trapped single ion as well as on the generation of the involved wavelengths exclusively by solid-state lasers is reported.

Published in:

Quantum Electronics Conference, 2000. Conference Digest. 2000 International

Date of Conference:

10-15 Sept. 2000