Microwave and RF Techniques in Trapped Ion Quantum Computing

Trapped atomic ions in vacuum are a leading platform for quantum computing, sensing, and networking. Although atoms are often associated with lasers in the public imagination, microwave and RF technology and techniques actually play critical roles in trapped ion quantum information processing. For example, RF electric fields with stringent amplitude stability requirements are commonly used to confine ions in a trap, and RF and microwave signals are essential in controlling the laser beams that are typically employed for qubit state preparation, control, and readout. In this talk, I will describe emerging research on using microwave and RF systems to replace specialized laser systems for carrying out trapped ion qubit operations. Recent demonstrations have showed microwave/RF-based entanglement generation, individual qubit addressing, and single-qubit control with fidelities at or above those of the best laser-based demonstrations. The microwave/RF-based qubit control approach offers potential advantages for scaling to larger quantum systems, including the ability to perform operations on many qubits in parallel, the avoidance of certain error mechanisms, and the prospect of less expensive, more compact control systems.