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Nanofabrication for On-Chip Optical Levitation, Atom-Trapping, and Superconducting Quantum Circuits


Norte, Richard Alexander (2015) Nanofabrication for On-Chip Optical Levitation, Atom-Trapping, and Superconducting Quantum Circuits. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z9WS8R61.


Researchers have spent decades refining and improving their methods for fabricating smaller, finer-tuned, higher-quality nanoscale optical elements with the goal of making more sensitive and accurate measurements of the world around them using optics. Quantum optics has been a well-established tool of choice in making these increasingly sensitive measurements which have repeatedly pushed the limits on the accuracy of measurement set forth by quantum mechanics. A recent development in quantum optics has been a creative integration of robust, high-quality, and well-established macroscopic experimental systems with highly-engineerable on-chip nanoscale oscillators fabricated in cleanrooms. However, merging large systems with nanoscale oscillators often require them to have extremely high aspect-ratios, which make them extremely delicate and difficult to fabricate with an "experimentally reasonable" repeatability, yield and high quality. In this work we give an overview of our research, which focused on microscopic oscillators which are coupled with macroscopic optical cavities towards the goal of cooling them to their motional ground state in room temperature environments. The quality factor of a mechanical resonator is an important figure of merit for various sensing applications and observing quantum behavior. We demonstrated a technique for pushing the quality factor of a micromechanical resonator beyond conventional material and fabrication limits by using an optical field to stiffen and trap a particular motional mode of a nanoscale oscillator. Optical forces increase the oscillation frequency by storing most of the mechanical energy in a nearly loss-less optical potential, thereby strongly diluting the effects of material dissipation. By placing a 130 nm thick SiO2 pendulum in an optical standing wave, we achieve an increase in the pendulum center-of-mass frequency from 6.2 to 145 kHz. The corresponding quality factor increases 50-fold from its intrinsic value to a final value of Qm = 5.8(1.1) x 105, representing more than an order of magnitude improvement over the conventional limits of SiO2 for a pendulum geometry. Our technique may enable new opportunities for mechanical sensing and facilitate observations of quantum behavior in this class of mechanical systems. We then give a detailed overview of the techniques used to produce high-aspect-ratio nanostructures with applications in a wide range of quantum optics experiments. The ability to fabricate such nanodevices with high precision opens the door to a vast array of experiments which integrate macroscopic optical setups with lithographically engineered nanodevices. Coupled with atom-trapping experiments in the Kimble Lab, we use these techniques to realize a new waveguide chip designed to address ultra-cold atoms along lithographically patterned nanobeams which have large atom-photon coupling and near 4π Steradian optical access for cooling and trapping atoms. We describe a fully integrated and scalable design where cold atoms are spatially overlapped with the nanostring cavities in order to observe a resonant optical depth of d0 ≈ 0.15. The nanodevice illuminates new possibilities for integrating atoms into photonic circuits and engineering quantum states of atoms and light on a microscopic scale. We then describe our work with superconducting microwave resonators coupled to a phononic cavity towards the goal of building an integrated device for quantum-limited microwave-to-optical wavelength conversion. We give an overview of our characterizations of several types of substrates for fabricating a low-loss high-frequency electromechanical system. We describe our electromechanical system fabricated on a Si3N4 membrane which consists of a 12 GHz superconducting LC resonator coupled capacitively to the high frequency localized modes of a phononic nanobeam. Using our suspended membrane geometry we isolate our system from substrates with significant loss tangents, drastically reducing the parasitic capacitance of our superconducting circuit to ≈ 2.5$ fF. This opens up a number of possibilities in making a new class of low-loss high-frequency electromechanics with relatively large electromechanical coupling. We present our substrate studies, fabrication methods, and device characterization.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:optomechanics; photonics; optics; quantum mechanics; nanomechanics; atom-trap; on-chip; microwave; superconducting; nanofabrication; optical trapping
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Painter, Oskar J.
Group:Institute for Quantum Information and Matter, IQIM
Thesis Committee:
  • Faraon, Andrei (chair)
  • Weinstein, Alan Jay
  • Libbrecht, Kenneth George
  • Painter, Oskar J.
Defense Date:13 August 2014
Non-Caltech Author Email:gugooju (AT)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)UNSPECIFIED
Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)UNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:10292014-120111728
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8718
Deposited By: Richard Norte
Deposited On:05 Nov 2014 18:15
Last Modified:12 Apr 2016 18:04

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