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Inducing micromechanical motion by optical excitation of a single quantum dot



Hybrid quantum optomechanical systems1 interface a macroscopic mechanical degree of freedom with a single two-level system such as a single spin2,3,4, a superconducting qubit5,6,7 or a single optical emitter8,9,10,11,12. Recently, hybrid systems operating in the microwave domain have witnessed impressive progress13,14. Concurrently, only a few experimental approaches have successfully addressed hybrid systems in the optical domain, demonstrating that macroscopic motion can modulate the two-level system transition energy9,10,15. However, the reciprocal effect, corresponding to the backaction of a single quantum system on a macroscopic mechanical resonator, has remained elusive. In contrast to an optical cavity, a two-level system operates with no more than a single energy quantum. Hence, it requires a much stronger hybrid coupling rate compared to cavity optomechanical systems1,16. Here, we build on the large strain coupling between an oscillating microwire and a single embedded quantum dot9. We resonantly drive the quantum dot’s exciton using a laser modulated at the mechanical frequency. State-dependent strain then results in a time-dependent mechanical force that actuates microwire motion. This force is almost three orders of magnitude larger than the radiation pressure produced by the photon flux interacting with the quantum dot. In principle, the state-dependent force could constitute a strategy to coherently encode the quantum dot quantum state onto a mechanical degree of freedom1.

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Fig. 1: Hybrid optomechanical system and experimental working principle.
Fig. 2: Schematic of the experimental set-up.
Fig. 3: Experimental demonstration of the QD-induced motion.

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Data are available from the public repository

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Data processing code is available from the public repository


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J.K., N.V., A.A., J.C., J.-M.G., P.V. and J.-P.P. are supported by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (project QDOT ANR-16-CE09-0010). N.V. is supported by Fondation Nanosciences. P.-L.d.A. thanks Université Grenoble Alpes and CNRS for supporting visits as an invited scientist. A.A. is supported by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche under the Research Collaborative Project Qu-DICE (ANR-PRC-CES47). M.R. is supported by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche under the Research Collaborative Project QFL (ANR-16-CE30-0021). B.P. is supported by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche under the project QCForce (ANR-JCJC-2016-CE09). O.A. acknowledges support from ERC Atto-Zepto CoG 820033. P.V. acknowledges support from the ERC StG 758794 ‘Q-ROOT’. Sample fabrication was carried out in the ‘Plateforme Technologique Amont’ and in CEA/LETI/DOPT clean rooms.

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Authors and Affiliations



J.K. and N.V. performed the experiments with the help of B.B. and P.-L.d.A.; J.K. and L.M.L. wrote the experimental codes. J.K. performed the data analysis. O.B. did the photothermal analysis of the system. A.A. and M.R. provided theoretical support. J.C. and J.-M.G. designed and fabricated the samples. J.K., B.P., O.A., P.V. and J.-P.P. proposed the experimental procedures. J.-P.P. supervised the project and wrote the manuscript with the help of A.A., M.R., J.C., J.-M.G., B.P., O.A. and P.V.

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Correspondence to Jean-Philippe Poizat.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Peer review information Nature Nanotechnology thanks Maurice Skolnick and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary Sections I–XI.

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Kettler, J., Vaish, N., de Lépinay, L.M. et al. Inducing micromechanical motion by optical excitation of a single quantum dot. Nat. Nanotechnol. 16, 283–287 (2021).

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