High-resolution spectroscopy and novel crystal-field methods for rare-earth based quantum information processing
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Rare-earth doped insulators have been widely recognized as excellent candidate materials for optical quantum computing and information processing. This is principally due to a combination of optical coherence times of up to milliseconds and ground-state hyperfine coherence times of seconds exhibited by rare-earth 4𝑓 𝑁 states. A key contender among rare-earth doped materials is Er3+:Y2SiO5, for which homogeneous linewidths as narrow as 50 Hz have been reported, and for which transitions between the ground and first excited states fall within the 1.5 𝜇m telecommunications wavelength band. However, attempts to utilize this material for spin-wave storage have been hampered by the complexity of the excited-state hyperfine structure, which inhibits the necessary theoretical work required to predict the location of zero first-order zeeman transitions. To address this, a novel crystal-field fitting method was developed to allow an accurate analysis of the 𝐶1 point-group symmetry sites of Y2SiO5. This work was complemented with spectral hole-burning spectroscopy, which revealed ground-state hyperfine level storage with a lifetime of 1.6 ± 0.4 seconds for the 4I15/2𝑍1 → 4F9/2𝐷1 transition. This type of storage time is uncharacteristic for erbium without an external magnetic field, since spin-flips of the unpaired electron in nearby Er3+ ions are typically understood to lead to fast hole filling. The development process of the theoretical and experimental tools required to perform the above work enabled several additional investigations. In particular, the novel crystal-field fitting methods were applied to the 𝑆4 site of Ce3+:LiYF4 and to the 𝐶2𝑣 site of Sm3+:Na+/Li+:CaF2/SrF2. These studies consisted of excellent tests for the developed methods yet also amounted to interesting investigations in their own respect. Similarly, the experimental work afforded an opportunity to directly determine the hyperfine splittings of the 5I8𝑍1 → 5F5𝐷1 transition in Ho3+:KY3F10. This was achieved using high-resolution excitation spectroscopy. Furthermore, the experimentally determined hyperfine structure could be accurately reproduced using a crystal field model. Finally, a lifetime measurement of the 6H7/2 state of Sm3+:LiYF4 was conducted. By utilizing an infrared free-electron laser, pico-second pump-probe spectroscopy allowed for a direct measurements of one of the shortest lifetimes of an RE3+ doped insulator reported in the literature to date. This confirmed the previously suggested two-gradient modification required for the energy-gap law at very short time scales.