Optomechanical systems, where the mechanical motion of objects is measured and controlled using light, have a huge range of applications, from the metre-scale mirrors of LIGO which detect gravitational waves, to micron scale superconducting systems that can transduce quantum signals. A fascinating addition to this field are free or levitated optomechanical systems, where the oscillator is not physically tethered. We study a variety of nanoparticles which are launched through vacuum (10−8 mbar) and interact with an optical cavity. The centre of mass motion of a nanoparticle can be cooled by the optical cavity field. It is predicted that the quantum ground state of motion can be reached, leaving the particle free to evolve after release from the light field, thus preparing nanoscale matter for quantum interference experiments.
J. Millen, S. Kuhn, F. Patolsky, A. Kosloff, and M. Arndt, "Cooling and manipulation of nanoparticles in high vacuum," Proc. SPIE 9922, Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XIII, 99220C (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 28, 2016; Published: 16 September 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2238753.
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