A dissipative quantum reservoir for microwave light using a mechanical oscillator

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Engineered dissipation can be used for quantum state preparation. This is achieved with a suitably engineered coupling to a dissipative cold reservoir usually formed by an electromagnetic mode. In the field of cavity electro- and optomechanics, the electromagnetic cavity naturally serves as a cold reservoir for the mechanical mode. Here, we realize the opposite scenario and engineer a mechanical oscillator cooled close to its ground state into a cold dissipative reservoir for microwave photons in a superconducting circuit. By tuning the coupling to this dissipative mechanical reservoir, we demonstrate dynamical backaction control of the microwave field, leading to stimulated emission and maser action. Moreover, the reservoir can function as a useful quantum resource, allowing the implementation of a near-quantum-limited phase-preserving microwave amplifier. Such engineered mechanical dissipation extends the toolbox of quantum manipulation techniques of the microwave field and constitutes a new ingredient for optomechanical protocols.

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Figure 1: Realization of a cold, dissipative reservoir for microwave light in circuit optomechanics.
Figure 2: Device, experimental setup, and characterization of the electromechanical circuit.
Figure 3: Dynamical backaction on the microwave mode using an engineered mechanical reservoir.
Figure 4: Amplified vacuum fluctuations and parametric instability of the microwave mode (masing).
Figure 5: Near-quantum-limited phase-preserving amplification.


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We thank A. A. Clerk, V. Sudhir and D. Wilson for helpful comments, E. Glushkov for helping out with the measurement setup and C. Javerzac-Galy for general assistance. This work was funded by the SNF, the NCCR Quantum Science and Technology (QSIT), and the European Union Seventh Framework Program through iQUOEMS (grant no. 323924). L.D.T. is supported by Marie Curie ITN cQOM (grant no. 290161). T.J.K. acknowledges financial support from an ERC AdG (QuREM). A.N. holds a University Research Fellowship from the Royal Society and acknowledges support from the Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability. All samples were fabricated in the Center of MicroNanoTechnology (CMi) at EPFL.

Author information

T.J.K. and A.K.F. conceived the idea. L.D.T. fabricated the devices. L.D.T. and N.R.B., under the supervision of A.K.F., performed the measurements. N.R.B. carried out the data analysis. A.N. contributed to the theoretical framework. All authors contributed to writing the manuscript.

Correspondence to A. K. Feofanov or T. J. Kippenberg.

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Tóth, L., Bernier, N., Nunnenkamp, A. et al. A dissipative quantum reservoir for microwave light using a mechanical oscillator. Nature Phys 13, 787–793 (2017) doi:10.1038/nphys4121

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