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Phonon counting and intensity interferometry of a nanomechanical resonator

Cohen, Justin D. and Meenehan, Seán M. and MacCabe, Gregory S. and Gröblacher, Simon and Safavi-Naeini, Amir H. and Marsili, Francesco and Shaw, Matthew D. and Painter, Oskar (2015) Phonon counting and intensity interferometry of a nanomechanical resonator. Nature, 520 (7548). pp. 522-525. ISSN 0028-0836.

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In optics, the ability to measure individual quanta of light (photons) enables a great many applications, ranging from dynamic imaging within living organisms to secure quantum communication. Pioneering photon counting experiments, such as the intensity interferometry performed by Hanbury Brown and Twiss to measure the angular width of visible stars, have played a critical role in our understanding of the full quantum nature of light. As with matter at the atomic scale, the laws of quantum mechanics also govern the properties of macroscopic mechanical objects, providing fundamental quantum limits to the sensitivity of mechanical sensors and transducers. Current research in cavity optomechanics seeks to use light to explore the quantum properties of mechanical systems ranging in size from kilogram-mass mirrors to nanoscale membranes, as well as to develop technologies for precision sensing and quantum information processing. Here we use an optical probe and single-photon detection to study the acoustic emission and absorption processes in a silicon nanomechanical resonator, and perform a measurement similar to that used by Hanbury Brown and Twiss to measure correlations in the emitted phonons as the resonator undergoes a parametric instability formally equivalent to that of a laser. Owing to the cavity-enhanced coupling of light with mechanical motion, this effective phonon counting technique has a noise equivalent phonon sensitivity of 0.89 ± 0.05. With straightforward improvements to this method, a variety of quantum state engineering tasks using mesoscopic mechanical resonators would be enabled, including the generation and heralding of single-phonon Fock states and the quantum entanglement of remote mechanical elements.

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Painter, Oskar0000-0002-1581-9209
Additional Information:© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 04 October 2014 Accepted 10 February 2015. We thank F. Marquardt and A. G. Krause for discussions, and V. B. Verma, R. P. Miriam and S. W. Nam for their help with the single-photon detectors used in this work. This work was supported by the DARPA ORCHID and MESO programmes, the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter, an NSF Physics Frontiers Center with the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at Caltech. Part of the research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA. A.H.S.-N. acknowledges support from NSERC. S.G. was supported by a Marie Curie International Out-going Fellowship within the 7th European Community Framework Programme. Contributions: O.P., S.M.M., J.D.C., S.G. and A.H.S.-N. planned the experiment. J.D.C., S.G., G.S.M., S.M.M. and A.H.S.-N. performed the device design and fabrication. F.M. and M.D.S. provided the single-photon detectors along with technical support for their installation and running. J.D.C., S.M.M., G.S.M. and O.P. performed the measurements, analysed the data and wrote the manuscript. Competing financial interests: The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Group:IQIM, Institute for Quantum Information and Matter, Kavli Nanoscience Institute
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)UNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM)UNSPECIFIED
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
Kavli Nanoscience Institute UNSPECIFIED
Marie Curie FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150415-163231669
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:56697
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:23 Apr 2015 02:34
Last Modified:01 Feb 2017 22:09

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