Ultrafast coherent excitation of an ytterbium ion with single laser pulses

Applied Physics Letters, Volume 119, Issue 21, November 2021. Experimental realizations of two qubit entangling gates with trapped ions typically rely on addressing spectroscopically resolved motional sidebands, limiting gate speed to the secular frequency. Fast entangling gates using ultrafast pulsed lasers overcome this speed limit. This approach is based on state-dependent photon recoil kicks from a sequence of counter-propagating, resonant, ultrafast pulse pairs, which can allow sub-microsecond gate speeds. Here, we demonstrate a key component of the ultrafast gate protocol, the coherent excitation of a 171Yb+ ion across the 2S1∕2-2P1∕2 transition with a single near-resonant short optical pulse at 369.53 nm. We achieve a maximum population transfer of 94(1)% using a picosecond pulsed laser that can be tuned across the 2S1∕2-2P1∕2 transition and 42.5(9)% with 190(7) GHz detuning.