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Aug 28th, 2012
Quantum effects observed in optomechanical system
The first direct observations of distinctly quantum optical effects — amplification and squeezing — have been recorded in an optomechanical system.
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Fig 1: Quantum optical effects.
Fig 1: Quantum optical effects.

The step forward points the way to low-power quantum optical devices and enhanced detection of gravitational waves, among other applications.

The first-of-its-kind experiment uses an innovative optical trapping system that provides a cluster of ultracold atoms to record amplification and squeezing in an optomechanical system. It was conducted by scientists from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley.

Fig 1: Berkeley Lab researchers directly observed quantum optical effects — amplification and ponderomotive squeezing — in an optomechanical system. Here the yellow/red regions show amplification; the blue regions show squeezing. On the left is the data, and on the right is the theoretical prediction in the absence of noise. (Image: Stamper-Kurn group)

“We’ve shown for the first time that the quantum fluctuations in a light field are responsible for driving the motions of objects much larger than an electron and could in principle drive the motion of really large objects,” said physicist Daniel Brooks, a member of Dan Stamper-Kurn’s research group.

Using light to move large objects has long been a staple of science fiction: think the tractor beam used in both “Star Trek” and “Star Wars.” While these tractor beams remain science fiction, beams of light today are being used to mechanically manipulate atoms or tiny glass beads, with rapid progress being made to control increasingly larger objects.

To read more: http://www.photonics.com


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