Letter | Published:

Sideband cooling of micromechanical motion to the quantum ground state

Nature volume 475, pages 359363 (21 July 2011) | Download Citation

Abstract

The advent of laser cooling techniques revolutionized the study of many atomic-scale systems, fuelling progress towards quantum computing with trapped ions1 and generating new states of matter with Bose–Einstein condensates2. Analogous cooling techniques3,4 can provide a general and flexible method of preparing macroscopic objects in their motional ground state. Cavity optomechanical or electromechanical systems achieve sideband cooling through the strong interaction between light and motion5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15. However, entering the quantum regime—in which a system has less than a single quantum of motion—has been difficult because sideband cooling has not sufficiently overwhelmed the coupling of low-frequency mechanical systems to their hot environments. Here we demonstrate sideband cooling of an approximately 10-MHz micromechanical oscillator to the quantum ground state. This achievement required a large electromechanical interaction, which was obtained by embedding a micromechanical membrane into a superconducting microwave resonant circuit. To verify the cooling of the membrane motion to a phonon occupation of 0.34 ± 0.05 phonons, we perform a near-Heisenberg-limited position measurement3 within (5.1 ± 0.4)h/2π, where h is Planck’s constant. Furthermore, our device exhibits strong coupling, allowing coherent exchange of microwave photons and mechanical phonons16. Simultaneously achieving strong coupling, ground state preparation and efficient measurement sets the stage for rapid advances in the control and detection of non-classical states of motion17,18, possibly even testing quantum theory itself in the unexplored region of larger size and mass19. Because mechanical oscillators can couple to light of any frequency, they could also serve as a unique intermediary for transferring quantum information between microwave and optical domains20.

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.

    , , & Laser cooling to the zero-point energy of motion. Phys. Rev. Lett. 62, 403–406 (1989)

  2. 2.

    , , , & Observation of Bose-Einstein condensation in a dilute atomic vapor. Science 269, 198–201 (1995)

  3. 3.

    & Quantum Measurement (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1992)

  4. 4.

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

  5. 5.

    , & Investigation of dissipative ponderomotive effects of electromagnetic radiation. Sov. Phys. JETP 31, 829–830 (1970)

  6. 6.

    et al. High sensitivity gravitational wave antenna with parametric transducer readout. Phys. Rev. Lett. 74, 1908–1911 (1995)

  7. 7.

    , , & Parametric back-action effects in a high-Q cryogenic sapphire transducer. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 67, 2435–2442 (1996)

  8. 8.

    , , & Dynamical backaction of microwave fields on a nanomechanical oscillator. Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 197203 (2008)

  9. 9.

    et al. Strong dispersive coupling of a high-finesse cavity to a micromechanical membrane. Nature 452, 72–75 (2008)

  10. 10.

    et al. Demonstration of an ultracold micro-optomechanical oscillator in a cryogenic cavity. Nature Phys. 5, 485–488 (2009)

  11. 11.

    & Resolved-sideband and cryogenic cooling of an optomechanical resonator. Nature Phys. 5, 489–493 (2009)

  12. 12.

    , , , & Mechanical oscillation and cooling actuated by the optical gradient force. Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 103601 (2009)

  13. 13.

    , , , & Resolved-sideband cooling and position measurement of a micromechanical oscillator close to the Heisenberg uncertainty limit. Nature Phys. 5, 509–514 (2009)

  14. 14.

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

  15. 15.

    et al. Optomechanical sideband cooling of a micromechanical oscillator close to the quantum ground state. Preprint at 〈〉 (2010)

  16. 16.

    et al. Circuit cavity electromechanics in the strong coupling regime. Nature 471, 204–208 (2011)

  17. 17.

    , & Preparation of nonclassical states in cavities with a moving mirror. Phys. Rev. A 56, 4175–4186 (1997)

  18. 18.

    , & Ponderomotive control of quantum macroscopic coherence. Phys. Rev. A 55, 3042–3050 (1997)

  19. 19.

    , , & Towards quantum superpositions of a mirror. Phys. Rev. Lett. 91, 130401 (2003)

  20. 20.

    & From cavity electromechanics to cavity optomechanics. J. Phys. Conf. Ser. 264, 012025 (2011)

  21. 21.

    et al. Quantum ground state and single-phonon control of a mechanical resonator. Nature 464, 697–703 (2010)

  22. 22.

    , , & Quantum theory of cavity-assisted sideband cooling of mechanical motion. Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 093902 (2007)

  23. 23.

    , , & Theory of ground state cooling of a mechanical oscillator using dynamical backaction. Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 093901 (2007)

  24. 24.

    , , , & Introduction to quantum noise, measurement, and amplification. Rev. Mod. Phys. 82, 1155–1208 (2010)

  25. 25.

    et al. Low-loss superconducting resonant circuits using vacuum-gap-based microwave components. Appl. Phys. Lett. 96, 093502 (2010)

  26. 26.

    , , , & Amplification and squeezing of quantum noise with a tunable Josephson metamaterial. Nature Phys. 4, 929–931 (2008)

  27. 27.

    , , , & Nanomechanical motion measured with an imprecision below that at the standard quantum limit. Nature Nanotechnol. 4, 820–823 (2009)

  28. 28.

    , & Parametric normal-mode splitting in cavity optomechanics. Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 263602 (2008)

  29. 29.

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

  30. 30.

    et al. Synthesizing arbitrary quantum states in a superconducting resonator. Nature 459, 546–549 (2009)

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank A. W. Sanders for taking the micrograph in Fig. 1 and the JILA instrument shop for fabrication and design of the cavity filter. This work was supported by NIST and the DARPA QuASAR programme. T.D. acknowledges support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschft (DFG). This Letter is a contribution of the US government and not subject to copyright.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Boulder, Colorado 80305, USA

    • J. D. Teufel
    • , Dale Li
    • , M. S. Allman
    • , K. Cicak
    • , A. J. Sirois
    • , J. D. Whittaker
    •  & R. W. Simmonds
  2. JILA, University of Colorado and NIST, Boulder, Colorado 80309, USA

    • T. Donner
    • , J. W. Harlow
    •  & K. W. Lehnert
  3. Department of Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309, USA

    • T. Donner
    • , J. W. Harlow
    • , M. S. Allman
    • , A. J. Sirois
    • , J. D. Whittaker
    •  & K. W. Lehnert

Authors

  1. Search for J. D. Teufel in:

  2. Search for T. Donner in:

  3. Search for Dale Li in:

  4. Search for J. W. Harlow in:

  5. Search for M. S. Allman in:

  6. Search for K. Cicak in:

  7. Search for A. J. Sirois in:

  8. Search for J. D. Whittaker in:

  9. Search for K. W. Lehnert in:

  10. Search for R. W. Simmonds in:

Contributions

J.D.T. and R.W.S. conceived the device. J.D.T. designed the circuit. J.D.T. and D.L. fabricated the devices. J.D.T. and T.D. set up the experiment, performed the measurements and analysed the data. J.D.T., T.D., R.W.S. and K.W.L. discussed the results and wrote the manuscript. All authors provided experimental support and commented on the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to J. D. Teufel.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Information

    The file contains Supplementary Text, Supplementary figures 1-4 with legends, Supplementary Table 1 and additional references.

About this article

Publication history

Received

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nature10261

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.