Phonon lasing from optical frequency comb illumination of trapped ions

M. Ip, A. Ransford, A.M. Jayich, X. Long, C. Roman, W.C. Campbell
PRL 121, 043201 (2018)

We demonstrate the use of a frequency-doubled optical frequency comb to load, cool, and crystallize trapped atomic ions as an alternative to ultraviolet (UV) or even deep UV continuous-wave lasers. We find that the Doppler shift from the atom’s oscillation in the trap, driven by the blue-detuned comb teeth, introduces additional cooling and amplification which gives rise to steady-state phonon lasing of the ion’s harmonic motion in the trap. The phonon laser’s gain saturation keeps the optical frequency comb from continually adding energy without bound. This protection allows us to demonstrate loading and crystallization of hot ions directly with the comb, eliminating the need for a continuous-wave cooling laser, a technique that is extendable to the deep UV.