|Title||Ultrafast creation of large Schrödinger cat states of an atom|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2017|
|Authors||K.. G. Johnson, J.. D. Wong-Campos, B.. Neyenhuis, J.. Mizrahi, and C.. Monroe|
Mesoscopic quantum superpositions, or Schrödinger cat states, are widely studied for fundamental investigations of quantum measurement and decoherence as well as applications in sensing and quantum information science. The generation and maintenance of such states relies upon a balance between efficient external coherent control of the system and sufficient isolation from the environment. Here we create a variety of cat states of a single trapped atom's motion in a harmonic oscillator using ultrafast laser pulses. These pulses produce high fidelity impulsive forces that separate the atom into widely separated positions, without restrictions that typically limit the speed of the interaction or the size and complexity of the resulting motional superposition. This allows us to quickly generate and measure cat states larger than previously achieved in a harmonic oscillator, and create complex multi-component superposition states in atoms.