Employing trapped cold ions to verify the quantum Jarzynski equality

Phys Rev Lett. 2008 Aug 15;101(7):070403. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.101.070403. Epub 2008 Aug 14.


We propose a scheme to investigate the nonequilibrium work distribution of a quantum particle under well controlled transformations of the external potential, exploiting the versatility of a single ion in a segmented linear Paul trap. We describe in detail how the motional quantum state of a single ion can be prepared, manipulated, and finally readout to fully determine the free energy difference in both harmonic and anharmonic potentials. Uniquely to our system, we show how an ion may be immersed in an engineered laser-field reservoir. Trapped ions therefore represent an ideal tool for investigating the Jarzynski equality in open and closed quantum systems.