Letter | Published:

Electromagnetically induced transparency and slow light with optomechanics

Nature volume 472, pages 6973 (07 April 2011) | Download Citation

Subjects

Abstract

Controlling the interaction between localized optical and mechanical excitations has recently become possible following advances in micro- and nanofabrication techniques1,2. So far, most experimental studies of optomechanics have focused on measurement and control of the mechanical subsystem through its interaction with optics, and have led to the experimental demonstration of dynamical back-action cooling and optical rigidity of the mechanical system1,3. Conversely, the optical response of these systems is also modified in the presence of mechanical interactions, leading to effects such as electromagnetically induced transparency4 (EIT) and parametric normal-mode splitting5. In atomic systems, studies6,7 of slow and stopped light (applicable to modern optical networks8 and future quantum networks9) have thrust EIT to the forefront of experimental study during the past two decades. Here we demonstrate EIT and tunable optical delays in a nanoscale optomechanical crystal, using the optomechanical nonlinearity to control the velocity of light by way of engineered photon–phonon interactions. Our device is fabricated by simply etching holes into a thin film of silicon. At low temperature (8.7 kelvin), we report an optically tunable delay of 50 nanoseconds with near-unity optical transparency, and superluminal light with a 1.4 microsecond signal advance. These results, while indicating significant progress towards an integrated quantum optomechanical memory10, are also relevant to classical signal processing applications. Measurements at room temperature in the analogous regime of electromagnetically induced absorption show the utility of these chip-scale optomechanical systems for optical buffering, amplification, and filtering of microwave-over-optical signals.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    & Cavity optomechanics: back-action at the mesoscale. Science 321, 1172–1176 (2008)

  2. 2.

    & Optomechanics of deformable optical cavities. Nature Photon. 3, 201–205 (2009)

  3. 3.

    Measurement of Weak Forces in Physics Experiments (Univ. Chicago Press, 1977)

  4. 4.

    et al. Optomechanically induced transparency. Science 330, 1520–1523 (2010)

  5. 5.

    , , & Observation of strong coupling between a micromechanical resonator and an optical cavity field. Nature 460, 724–727 (2009)

  6. 6.

    , , & Light speed reduction to 17 metres per second in an ultracold atomic gas. Nature 397, 594–598 (1999)

  7. 7.

    , & Electromagnetically induced transparency: optics in coherent media. Rev. Mod. Phys. 77, 633–673 (2005)

  8. 8.

    & Controlling the velocity of light pulses. Science 326, 1074–1077 (2009)

  9. 9.

    The quantum internet. Nature 453, 1023–1030 (2008)

  10. 10.

    , , & Slowing and stopping light using an optomechanical crystal array. N. J. Phys. 13, 023003 (2011)

  11. 11.

    , & Creation of long-term coherent optical memory via controlled nonlinear interactions in Bose-Einstein condensates. Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 233602 (2009)

  12. 12.

    et al. Electromagnetically induced transparency in semiconductors via biexciton coherence. Phys. Rev. Lett. 91, 183602 (2003)

  13. 13.

    et al. Coherent population trapping of single spins in diamond under optical excitation. Phys. Rev. Lett. 97, 247401 (2006)

  14. 14.

    et al. Coherent population trapping of an electron spin in a single negatively charged quantum dot. Nature Phys. 4, 692–695 (2008)

  15. 15.

    Slow and fast light in optical fibres. Nature Photon. 2, 474–481 (2008)

  16. 16.

    , & Superluminal and slow light propagation in a room-temperature solid. Science 301, 200–202 (2003)

  17. 17.

    , , & Multimode quantum memory based on atomic frequency combs. Phys. Rev. A 79, 052329 (2009)

  18. 18.

    , , , & A solid-state light-matter interface at the single-photon level. Nature 456, 773–777 (2008)

  19. 19.

    , , & Stopping light in a waveguide with an all-optical analog of electromagnetically induced transparency. Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 233903 (2004)

  20. 20.

    et al. Experimental realization of an on-chip all-optical analogue to electromagnetically induced transparency. Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 123901 (2006)

  21. 21.

    et al. Circuit cavity electromechanics in the strong coupling regime. Nature doi:10.1038/nature09898 (10 March 2011); preprint at 〈〉 (2010)

  22. 22.

    , & Large-scale arrays of ultrahigh-Q coupled nanocavities. Nature Photon. 2, 741–747 (2008)

  23. 23.

    et al. Harnessing optical forces in integrated photonic circuits. Nature 456, 480–484 (2008)

  24. 24.

    , , , & Optomechanical crystals. Nature 462, 78–82 (2009)

  25. 25.

    et al. Preparation and detection of a mechanical resonator near the ground state of motion. Nature 463, 72–75 (2010); published online 9 December 2009.

  26. 26.

    , & Electromagnetically induced absorption. Phys. Rev. A 59, 4732–4735 (1999)

  27. 27.

    MEMS technology for timing and frequency control. IEEE Trans. Ultrason. Ferroelectr. Freq. Control 54, 251–270 (2007)

  28. 28.

    , & Development of miniature filters for wireless applications. IEEE Trans. Microwave Theory Techn. 43, 2933–2939 (1995)

  29. 29.

    , , , & Optomechanical transducers for long-distance quantum communication. Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 220501 (2010)

  30. 30.

    & Proposal for an optomechanical traveling wave phonon-photon translator. N. J. Phys. 13, 013017 (2011)

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank K. Schwab for providing the microwave modulation source used in this work. This work was supported by the DARPA/MTO ORCHID programme through a grant from AFOSR, and the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at Caltech. A.H.S.-N. and J.C. acknowledge support from NSERC.

Author information

Author notes

    • A. H. Safavi-Naeini
    •  & T. P. Mayer Alegre

    These authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

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

    • A. H. Safavi-Naeini
    • , T. P. Mayer Alegre
    • , J. Chan
    • , M. Eichenfield
    • , M. Winger
    • , Q. Lin
    • , J. T. Hill
    •  & O. Painter
  2. Institute for Quantum Information, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA

    • D. E. Chang
  3. Center for the Physics of Information, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA

    • D. E. Chang

Authors

  1. Search for A. H. Safavi-Naeini in:

  2. Search for T. P. Mayer Alegre in:

  3. Search for J. Chan in:

  4. Search for M. Eichenfield in:

  5. Search for M. Winger in:

  6. Search for Q. Lin in:

  7. Search for J. T. Hill in:

  8. Search for D. E. Chang in:

  9. Search for O. Painter in:

Contributions

J.C., A.H.S.-N. and M.E. performed the device design, and J.C. performed the device fabrication with support from M.W. and J.T.H. Measurements and data analysis were performed by A.H.S.-N. and T.P.M.A., with support from both D.E.C. and Q.L. and supervision by O.P. All authors contributed to the writing of the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to O. Painter.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Information

    The file contains Supplementary Text and Data, Supplementary Figures 1-6 with legends and additional references.

About this article

Publication history

Received

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nature09933

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.