Letter | Published:

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

Nature Physics volume 5, pages 485488 (2009) | Download Citation

Abstract

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-μm scale objects in the quantum regime. Possible applications range from quantum-limited optomechanical sensing devices to macroscopic tests of quantum physics5,6.

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Acknowledgements

We thank R. Lalezari (ATFilms) and M. Metzler, R. Ilic and M. Skvarla (CNF) and F. Blaser, T. Corbitt and W. Lang for discussion and support. We acknowledge support by the Austrian Science Fund FWF (Projects P19539, L426, START), by the European Commission (Projects MINOS, IQOS) and by the Foundational Questions Institute fqxi.org (Grants RFP2-08-03, RFP2-08-27). Part of this work was carried out at the Cornell NanoScale Facility, a member of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network, which is supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant ECS-0335765). S.Gr. is a recipient of a DOC-fellowship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and G.D.C. of a Marie Curie Fellowship of the European Commission. S.Gr. and M.R.V. are members of the FWF doctoral program Complex Quantum Systems (W1210).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI), Austrian Academy of Sciences, Boltzmanngasse 3, A-1090 Vienna, Austria

    • Simon Gröblacher
    • , Michael R. Vanner
    • , Garrett D. Cole
    •  & Markus Aspelmeyer
  2. Faculty of Physics, University of Vienna, Boltzmanngasse 5, A-1090 Vienna, Austria

    • Simon Gröblacher
    •  & Michael R. Vanner
  3. Department of Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA

    • Jared B. Hertzberg
    •  & K. C. Schwab
  4. Department of Physics, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA

    • Jared B. Hertzberg
  5. The Center for Micro- and Nanostructures (ZMNS), Vienna University of Technology, Floragasse 7, A-1040 Vienna, Austria

    • Garrett D. Cole
  6. Laboratoire Photon et Matière, Ecole Superieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles, CNRS-UPRA0005, 10 rue Vauquelin, 75005 Paris, France

    • Sylvain Gigan
  7. Permanent address: Department of Applied Physics, Caltech, Pasadena, California 91125, USA

    • K. C. Schwab

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Contributions

All authors have made a significant contribution to the concept, design, execution or interpretation of the presented work.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Simon Gröblacher or Markus Aspelmeyer.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys1301

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