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Sep 06, 2008
Amplitude spectroscopy of a solid-state artificial atom
Sergio Valenzuela, leader of the Physics and Engineering of Nanodevices (PEN) group at CIN2 (ICN-CSIC), together with other researchers, published the paper 'Amplitude spectroscopy of a solid-state artificial atom' on Nature 455, 51-57.
The energy-level structure of a quantum system, which has a fundamental role in its behaviour, can be observed as discrete lines and features in absorption and emission spectra. Conventionally, spectra are measured using frequency spectroscopy, whereby the frequency of a harmonic electromagnetic driving field is tuned into resonance with a particular separation between energy levels. Although this technique has been successfully employed in a variety of physical systems, including natural and artificial atoms and molecules, its application is not universally straightforward and becomes extremely challenging for frequencies in the range of tens to hundreds of gigahertz. Here we introduce a complementary approach, amplitude spectroscopy, whereby a harmonic driving field sweeps an artificial atom through the avoided crossings between energy levels at a fixed frequency. Spectroscopic information is obtained from the amplitude dependence of the system's response, thereby overcoming many of the limitations of a broadband-frequency-based approach. The resulting 'spectroscopy diamonds', the regions in parameter space where transitions between specific pairs of levels can occur, exhibit interference patterns and population inversion that serve to distinguish the atom's spectrum. Amplitude spectroscopy provides a means of manipulating and characterizing systems over an extremely broad bandwidth, using only a single driving frequency that may be orders of magnitude smaller than the energy scales being probed.