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Scattering-free optical levitation of a mirror (past project)

Scattering-free optical levitation of a mirror (past project)

To reach the quantum regime with optomechanical systems, it is critical to minimize the thermalization and decoherence processes by reducing their coupling to the environmental thermal reservoirs. Thus far, this has necessitated the use of cryogenic operating environments or complicated fabrication of nanostructures exhibiting phononic bandgap characteristics. One of the main sources of mechanical dissipation is the coupling to the reservoir via clamping and material supports. What if we could eliminate this clamping altogether? One way to eliminate clamping loss is to use an optical tweezer to trap an object. In these cases the scattering due to the optical trapping beam can lead to heating of the object and therefore creates a thermal mechanical state.

At the Australian National University (CQC2T- Lam group), we proposed and theoretically investigated possibility of scattering-free levitation of a macroscopic cavity mirror. The suspended mirror forms part of a low loss optical cavity.  The proposed optical suspension will therefore be fully coherent. This can potentially lead to observation of an extremely high mechanical quality factor for macroscopic objects.