Loading of a surface-electrode ion trap from a remote, precooled source
July 20, 2012
We demonstrate loading of ions into a surface-electrode trap (SET) from a remote, laser-cooled source of neutral atoms. We first cool and load ~10^6 neutral 88Sr atoms into a magneto-optical trap from an oven that has no line of sight with the SET. The cold atoms are then pushed with a resonant laser into the trap region where they are subsequently photoionized and trapped in an SET operated at a cryogenic temperature of 4.6 K. We present studies of the loading process and show that our technique achieves ion loading into a shallow (15 meV depth) trap at rates as high as 125 ions/s while drastically reducing the amount of metal deposition on the trap surface as compared with direct loading from a hot vapor. Furthermore, we note that due to multiple stages of isotopic filtering in our loading process, this technique has the potential for enhanced isotopic selectivity over other loading methods. Rapid loading from a clean, isotopically pure, and precooled source may enable scalable quantum-information processing with trapped ions in large, low-depth surface-trap arrays that are not amenable to loading from a hot atomic beam.