Letter | Published:

Observation of spontaneous Brillouin cooling

Nature Physics volume 8, pages 203207 (2012) | Download Citation

Abstract

Although bolometric- and ponderomotive-induced deflection of device boundaries are widely used for laser cooling, the electrostrictive Brillouin scattering of light from sound was considered an acousto-optical amplification-only process1,2,3,4,5,6,7. It was suggested that cooling could be possible in multi-resonance Brillouin systems5,6,7,8 when phonons experience lower damping than light8. However, this regime was not accessible in electrostrictive Brillouin systems1,2,3,5,6 as backscattering enforces high acoustical frequencies associated with high mechanical damping1. Recently, forward Brillouin scattering3 in microcavities7 has allowed access to low-frequency acoustical modes where mechanical dissipation is lower than optical dissipation, in accordance with the requirements for cooling8. Here we experimentally demonstrate cooling via such a forward Brillouin process in a microresonator. We show two regimes of operation for the electrostrictive Brillouin process: acoustical amplification as is traditional and an electrostrictive Brillouin cooling regime. Cooling is mediated by resonant light in one pumped optical mode, and spontaneously scattered resonant light in one anti-Stokes optical mode, that beat and electrostrictively attenuate the Brownian motion of the mechanical mode.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Optical Radiation Cooling and Heating in Integrated Devices (ORCHID) programme through a grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). M.T. is supported by a National Science Foundation fellowship. F.M. acknowledges the Emmy–Noether programme.

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Affiliations

  1. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA

    • Gaurav Bahl
    • , Matthew Tomes
    •  & Tal Carmon
  2. Institut für Theoretische Physik, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Staudtstrasse 7, D-91058 Erlangen, Germany

    • Florian Marquardt
  3. Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Günther-Scharowsky-Strasse 1/Bau 24, D-91058 Erlangen, Germany

    • Florian Marquardt

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Contributions

G.B., M.T. and T.C. designed and conceived the experiments. G.B. carried out the experiments and numerical calculations. All authors jointly carried out the analytical calculations, analysed the data and co-wrote the paper. T.C. supervised all aspects of this project.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gaurav Bahl.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys2206

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