Resonance-enhanced isotope-selective photoionization of YbI for ion trap loading
Neutral ytterbium (YbI) and singly ionized ytterbium (YbII) are widely used in experiments in quantum optics, metrology, and quantum information science. We report on the investigation of isotope-selective two-photon ionization of YbI that allows for efficient loading of ion traps with YbII. Results are presented on two-color (399 nm and 369 nm) and single-color (399 nm) photoionization and their efficiency is compared to electron impact ionization. Nearly deterministic loading of a desired number of YbII ions into a linear Paul trap is demonstrated. First results have been presented in the context of quantum information (Balzer et al. in Phys. Rev. A 73:041407(R), 2006), and the present paper is intended to give a detailed description and understanding of the photoionization and ion trap loading processes. Furthermore, we provide useful technical details of the production and characterization of suitable atomic ovens.