Electrical and Computer Engineering ETDs

Publication Date



In this thesis, the construction and implementation of an in situ plasma discharge designed to remove surface contaminants from electrodes in an ion trapping experimental system is presented with results. In recent years, many advances have been made in using ion traps for quantum information processing. All of the criteria defined by DiVincenzo for using ion traps for implementing a quantum computer have been individually demonstrated, and in particular surface traps provide a scalable platform for ions. In order to be used for quantum algorithms, trapped ions need to be cooled to their motional (quantum mechanical) ground state. One of the hurdles in integrating surface ion traps for a quantum computer is minimizing electric field noise, which causes the ion to heat out of its motional ground state and which increases with smaller ion-to-electrode distances realized with surface traps. Surface contamination of trap electrodes is speculated to be the primary source of electric field noise. The main goal achieved by this work was to implement an in situ surface cleaning solution for surface electrode ion traps, which would not modify the ion trap electrode surface metal. Care was taken in applying the RF power in order to localize a plasma near the trap electrodes. A method for characterizing the energy of the plasma ions arriving at the ion trap surface is presented and results for plasma ion energies are shown. Finally, a method for quantifying the effectiveness of plasma cleaning of trap electrodes, using the surface analysis technique of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy for measuring the amount and kind of surface contaminants, is described. A significant advantage of the trap electrode surface cleaning method presented here is the minimal changes necessary for implementation on a working ion trap experimental system.


ion traps, plasma


Sandia National Laboratories, Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity

Document Type




Degree Name

Electrical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Fleddermann, Charles

First Committee Member (Chair)

Meeko, Oishi

Second Committee Member

Blain, Matthew G.