Coherence and Raman sideband cooling of a single atom in an optical tweezer
We investigate quantum control of a single atom in an optical tweezer trap created by a tightly focused optical beam. We show that longitudinal polarization components in the dipole trap arising from the breakdown of the paraxial approximation give rise to significant internal-state decoherence. We show that this effect can be mitigated by appropriate choice of magnetic bias field, enabling Raman sideband cooling of a single atom close to its three-dimensional ground state in an optical trap with a beam waist as small as $w=900$ nm. We achieve vibrational occupation numbers of $\barn_r = 0.01$ and $\barn_a = 8$ in the radial and axial directions of the trap, corresponding to an rms size of the atomic wavepacket of 24 nm and 270 nm, respectively. This represents a promising starting point for future hybrid quantum systems where atoms are placed in close proximity to surfaces.