Article abstract

Nature Photonics 1, 416 - 422 (2007)
Published online: 2 July 2007 | doi:10.1038/nphoton.2007.96

Subject Categories: Fundamental optical physics | Novel materials and engineered structures

Actuation of micro-optomechanical systems via cavity-enhanced optical dipole forces

Matt Eichenfield1, Christopher P. Michael1, Raviv Perahia1 & Oskar Painter1

Optical forces can produce significant mechanical effects in micro- and nanophotonic systems. Here we demonstrate a novel optomechanical system using a movable, micrometre-scale waveguide evanescently coupled to a high-Q optical microresonator. Micrometre-scale displacements of the waveguide are observed for milliwatt-level optical input powers. Measurement of the spatial variation of the force on the waveguide indicates that it arises from a cavity-enhanced optical dipole force resulting from the stored optical field of the resonator. This force is used to realize an all-optical tunable filter operating with submilliwatt control power. A theoretical model of the system shows that the maximum achievable force is independent of the intrinsic Q of the optical resonator and scales inversely with the cavity mode volume, suggesting that such forces may become even more effective as devices approach the nanoscale.

  1. Thomas J. Watson, Sr, Laboratory of Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA

Correspondence to: Oskar Painter1 e-mail:


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