Combining optical levitation and cavity optomechanics constitutes a promising approach to prepare and control the motional quantum state of massive objects (>10^9 amu). This, in turn, would represent a completely new type of light-matter interface and has, for example, been predicted to enable experimental tests of macrorealistic models or of non-Newtonian gravity at small length scales. Such ideas have triggered significant experimental efforts to realizing such novel systems.
To this end, we have recently successfully demonstrated cavity-cooling of a levitated sub-micron silica particle in a classical regime at a pressure of approximately 1mbar. Access to higher vacuum of approx. 10^-6 mbar has been demonstrated using 3D-feedback cooling in optical tweezers without cavity-coupling.
Here we will illustrate our strategy towards trapping, 3D-cooling and quantum control of nanoparticles in ultra-high vacuum using cavity-based feedback cooling methods and clean particle loading with hollow-core photonic crystal fibers. We will also discuss the current experimental progress both in 3D-cavity cooling and HCPCF-based transport of nanoparticles.
As yet another application of cavity-controlled levitated nanoparticles we will show how to implement a thermodynamic Sterling cycle operating in the underdamped regime. We present optimized protocols with respect to efficiency at maximum power in this little explored regime. We also show that the excellent level of control in our system will allow reproducing all relevant features of such optimized protocols. In a next step, this will enable studies of thermodynamics cycles in a regime where the quantization of the mechanical motion becomes relevant.
Nikolai Kiesel, Florian Blaser, Uros Delic, David Grass, Andreas Dechant, Eric Lutz, Marzieh Bathaee, and Markus Aspelmeyer, "Experimental opto-mechanics with levitated nanoparticles: towards quantum control and thermodynamic cycles (Presentation Recording)," Proc. SPIE 9548, Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XII, 95480A (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 09, 2015; Published: 5 October 2015); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2191530.4519370448001.
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