National Institute of Standards and Technology physicists have solved the seemingly intractablepuzzle of how to control the quantum properties of individual charged molecules, or molecular ions.
The NIST method finds the quantum state of the molecular ionby transferring the information to a second ion, in this case an atomic ion, which can be laser cooledand controlled with previously known techniques.
Borrowing ideas from NIST’s quantum logic clock, theresearchers attempt to manipulate the molecular ion and, if successful, set off a synchronized motionin the pair of ions.
The atomic ion then started scatteringlight, signaling that the molecular ion’s state had changed and it was in the desired target state.
Other NIST scientists at JILA previouslyused lasers to manipulate clouds of specific charged molecules in certain ways, but the new NISTtechnique could be used to control many different types of larger molecular ions in more ways, Chousaid.
Molecular ions offer more options than atomic ions for storing and converting quantum information,Chou said.
Preparation and coherent manipulation of pure quantum states of a single molecular ion.