Letter abstract

Nature Physics 5, 485 - 488 (2009)
Published online: 7 June 2009 | doi:10.1038/nphys1301

Subject Category: Electronics, photonics and device physics

Demonstration of an ultracold micro-optomechanical oscillator in a cryogenic cavity

Simon Gröblacher1,2, Jared B. Hertzberg3,4, Michael R. Vanner1,2, Garrett D. Cole1,5, Sylvain Gigan6, K. C. Schwab3,7 & Markus Aspelmeyer1


Preparing and manipulating quantum states of mechanical resonators is a highly interdisciplinary undertaking that now receives enormous interest for its far-reaching potential in fundamental and applied science1, 2. Up to now, only nanoscale mechanical devices achieved operation close to the quantum regime3, 4. We report a new micro-optomechanical resonator that is laser cooled to a level of 30 thermal quanta. This is equivalent to the best nanomechanical devices, however, with a mass more than four orders of magnitude larger (43 ng versus 1 pg) and at more than two orders of magnitude higher environment temperature (5 K versus 30 mK). Despite the large laser-added cooling factor of 4,000 and the cryogenic environment, our cooling performance is not limited by residual absorption effects. These results pave the way for the preparation of 100-mum scale objects in the quantum regime. Possible applications range from quantum-limited optomechanical sensing devices to macroscopic tests of quantum physics5, 6.

  1. Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI), Austrian Academy of Sciences, Boltzmanngasse 3, A-1090 Vienna, Austria
  2. Faculty of Physics, University of Vienna, Boltzmanngasse 5, A-1090 Vienna, Austria
  3. Department of Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA
  4. Department of Physics, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA
  5. The Center for Micro- and Nanostructures (ZMNS), Vienna University of Technology, Floragasse 7, A-1040 Vienna, Austria
  6. Laboratoire Photon et Matière, Ecole Superieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles, CNRS-UPRA0005, 10 rue Vauquelin, 75005 Paris, France
  7. Permanent address: Department of Applied Physics, Caltech, Pasadena, California 91125, USA

Correspondence to: Markus Aspelmeyer1 e-mail: markus.aspelmeyer@quantum.at