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Exploring Quantum Measurement with Nanomechanics and Light

Date:  Thursday,  February 1, 2018

Speaker:  Dalziel Wilson, IBM Research, Zurich 


Nanomechanical resonators are exquisite force sensors.  In a new generation of experiments, they have even been used to “feel” the vacuum fluctuations of a laser field.  This talk addresses the opposite side of the coin: can the same laser be used to “see” the vacuum fluctuations of the nanomechanical resonator?  If so, can such a measurement be leveraged to cool a tangibly-sized mechanical object to its ground state, using feedback?  I will describe an experiment designed to achieve both goals, based on a nanostring coupled to an optical microcavity.  Along the way, I will show how this system can realize a position measurement with an imprecision 40 dB below that at the standard quantum limit, and “erase” part of the ensuing back-action using quantum noise correlations (a strategy of interest for future LIGO). I will also briefly describe a new class of nanomechanical resonators with room temperature quality factors exceeding 100 million. These devices undergo 100s of coherent oscillations before interacting with the thermal environment, and may enable new optomechanics-based quantum technologies.


  1. D. Wilson et. al., Nature 524, 325 (2015) 2. R. Schilling et. al., Phys. Rev. App. 5, 054019 (2016) 3. V. Sudhir et. al., Phys. Rev. X 7, 011001 (2017) 4. V. Sudhir et. al., Phys. Rev. X 7 (3), 031055 (2017) 5. A. Ghadimi et. al., arXiv:1711.06247 (2017)

Host:  Mike Raymer

Catered Reception: 3:40pm-3:55pm, Willamette Hall, Paul Olum Atrium

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