An atom-by-atom assembler of defect-free arbitrary two-dimensional atomic arrays

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Science  25 Nov 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6315, pp. 1021-1023
DOI: 10.1126/science.aah3778

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Making perfect atomic arrays

Arrays of atoms can be a useful resource for quantum information. However, loading atoms into arrays is typically a stochastic process, which leads to imperfections. Two groups have now performed defect-free assembly of atoms into arrays (see the Perspective by Regal). The researchers first loaded the atoms stochastically and imaged the system. They then shuttled the atoms around to form perfect arrays. Barredo et al. worked with two-dimensional arrays, creating a variety of spatial configurations. Endres et al. manipulated atoms along a line. By further cooling down the atoms and generating interactions among them, the techniques may also find use in quantum simulation.

Science, this issue p. 972, p. 1021; see also p. 1024


Large arrays of individually controlled atoms trapped in optical tweezers are a very promising platform for quantum engineering applications. However, deterministic loading of the traps is experimentally challenging. We demonstrate the preparation of fully loaded two-dimensional arrays of up to ~50 microtraps, each containing a single atom and arranged in arbitrary geometries. Starting from initially larger, half-filled matrices of randomly loaded traps, we obtain user-defined target arrays at unit filling. This is achieved with a real-time control system and a moving optical tweezers, which together enable a sequence of rapid atom moves depending on the initial distribution of the atoms in the arrays. These results open exciting prospects for quantum engineering with neutral atoms in tunable two-dimensional geometries.

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