Cavity cooling of levitated nanoparticles


The coupling of a levitated massive particle and an optical cavity field promises access to a unique parameter regime both for macroscopic quantum experiments and for high-precision force sensing. We report a demonstration of such controlled interactions by cavity cooling the center-of-mass motion of an optically trapped submicron particle. This paves the way for a light–matter interface that can enable room-temperature quantum experiments with mesoscopic mechanical systems.

Cavity cooling of an optically levitated submicron particle
Nikolai Kiesel, Florian Blaser, Uroš Delić, David Grass, Rainer Kaltenbaek, and Markus Aspelmeyer
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) USA, Published online before print August 12, 2013,  doi: 10.1073/pnas.1309167110

Optically levitated nanosphere. A glass sphere of 250 nanometer diameter is trapped by optical levitation in the standing wave light field between two highly reflecting mirrors (top). The inset shows the nanosphere that contains approximately a billion atoms as observed through scattering of light off the sphere. (Credit: J. Schmöle, Faculty of Physics, University of Vienna and Vienna Center for Quantum Science and Technology (VCQ)