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Quantum rotations of nanoparticles

Abstract

Rotations of microscale rigid bodies exhibit pronounced quantum phenomena that do not exist for their centre-of-mass motion. By levitating nanoparticles in ultra-high vacuum, researchers are developing a promising platform for observing and exploiting these quantum effects in an unexplored mass and size regime. Recent experimental and theoretical breakthroughs demonstrate exquisite control of nanoscale rotations, setting the stage for the first tabletop tests of rotational superpositions and for the next generation of ultra-precise torque sensors. Here, we review the experimental state of the art and discuss promising routes towards quantum rotations.

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Fig. 1: Controlling and cooling nanorotors.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank J. Millen and C. Rusconi for their comments on the manuscript. B.A.S. acknowledges funding from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) – 411042854. K.H. acknowledges funding from the DFG – 394398290. M.S.K. was supported by the QuantERA ERA-NET Cofund in Quantum Technologies implemented within the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme.

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Stickler, B.A., Hornberger, K. & Kim, M.S. Quantum rotations of nanoparticles. Nat Rev Phys 3, 589–597 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s42254-021-00335-0

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