Physics & Astronomy ETDs


Aaron Hankin

Publication Date



With the advent of laser cooling and trapping, neutral atoms have become a foundational source of accuracy for applications in metrology and are showing great potential for their use as qubits in quantum information. In metrology, neutral atoms provide the most accurate references for the measurement of time and acceleration. The unsurpassed stability provided by these systems make neutral atoms an attractive avenue to explore applications in quantum information and computing. However, to fully investigate the field of quantum information, we require a method to generate entangling interactions between neutral-atom qubits. Recent progress in the use of highly-excited Rydberg states for strong dipolar interactions has shown great promise for controlled entanglement using the Rydberg blockade phenomenon. I report the use of singly-trapped cesium atoms as qubits for applications in metrology and quantum information. Each atom provides a physical basis for a single qubit by encoding the required information into the ground-state hyperfine structure of cesium. Through the manipulation of these qubits with microwave and optical frequency sources, we demonstrate the capacity for arbitrary single-qubit control by driving qubit rotations in three orthogonal directions on the Bloch sphere. With this control, we develop an atom interferometer that far surpasses the force sensitivity of other approaches by applying the well-established technique of light-pulsed atom-matterwave interferometry to single atoms. Following this, we focus on two-qubit interactions using highly-excited Rydberg states. Through the development of a unique single-photon approach to Rydberg excitation using an ultraviolet laser at 319 nm, we observe the Rydberg blockade interaction between atoms separated by 6.6(3) microns. Motivated by the observation of Rydberg blockade, we study the application of Rydberg-dressed states for a quantum controlled-phase gate. Using a realistic simulation of the dressed-state dynamics, we calculate a controlled-phase gate fidelity of 94% that is primarily limited by Doppler frequency shifts. Finally, we employ our single-photon excitation laser to measure the Rydberg-dressed interaction, thus demonstrating the viability of this approach.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Physics & Astronomy

First Advisor

Deutsch, Ivan

Second Advisor

Biedermann, Grant

First Committee Member (Chair)

Carlton, Caves

Second Committee Member

Lidke, Keith

Project Sponsors

Sandia National Laboratories, Laboratory Directed Research and Development, University of New Mexico




atomic physics, quantum information, quantum computing, Rydberg spectroscopy, atom interferometry, Rydberg dressing, Rydberg-dressed states, controlled-phase gate, cphase gate

Document Type