Interaction of a laser with a qubit in thermal motion and its application to robust and efficient readout
We present a detailed theoretical and experimental study on the optical control of a trapped-ion qubit subject to thermally induced fluctuations of the Rabi frequency. The coupling fluctuations are caused by thermal excitation on three harmonic oscillator modes. We develop an effective Maxwell–Boltzmann theory which leads to a replacement of several quantized oscillator modes by an effective continuous probability distribution function for the Rabi frequency. The model is experimentally verified for driving the quadrupole transition with resonant square pulses. This allows for the determination of the ion temperature with an accuracy of better than 2% of the temperature pertaining to the Doppler cooling limit T D over a range from 0.5 T D to 5 T D . The theory is then applied successfully to model experimental data for rapid adiabatic passage (RAP) pulses. We apply the model and the obtained experimental parameters to elucidate the robustness and efficiency of the RAP process by means of numerical simulations.