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Published June 9, 2016 | Submitted
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Scanning probe microscopy of thermally excited mechanical modes of an optical microcavity


The resonant buildup of light within optical microcavities elevates the radiation pressure which mediates coupling of optical modes to the mechanical modes of a microcavity. Above a certain threshold pump power, regenerative mechanical oscillation occurs causing oscillation of certain mechanical eigenmodes. Here, we present a methodology to spatially image the micro-mechanical resonances of a toroid microcavity using a scanning probe technique. The method relies on recording the induced frequency shift of the mechanical eigenmode when in contact with a scanning probe tip. The method is passive in nature and achieves a sensitivity sufficient to spatially resolve the vibrational mode pattern associated with the thermally agitated displacement at room temperature. The recorded mechanical mode patterns are in good qualitative agreement with the theoretical strain fields as obtained by finite element simulations.

Additional Information

This research was supported by the DARPA and the Caltech Lee Center for Advanced Networking. TJK gratefully acknowledges receipt of a postdoctoral fellowship from the IST-CPI.

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