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Fiber-Optic Integration and Efficient Detection Schemes for Optomechanical Resonators


Cohen, Justin Daniel (2015) Fiber-Optic Integration and Efficient Detection Schemes for Optomechanical Resonators. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z95D8PSH.


With the advent of the laser in the year 1960, the field of optics experienced a renaissance from what was considered to be a dull, solved subject to an active area of development, with applications and discoveries which are yet to be exhausted 55 years later. Light is now nearly ubiquitous not only in cutting-edge research in physics, chemistry, and biology, but also in modern technology and infrastructure. One quality of light, that of the imparted radiation pressure force upon reflection from an object, has attracted intense interest from researchers seeking to precisely monitor and control the motional degrees of freedom of an object using light. These optomechanical interactions have inspired myriad proposals, ranging from quantum memories and transducers in quantum information networks to precision metrology of classical forces. Alongside advances in micro- and nano-fabrication, the burgeoning field of optomechanics has yielded a class of highly engineered systems designed to produce strong interactions between light and motion.

Optomechanical crystals are one such system in which the patterning of periodic holes in thin dielectric films traps both light and sound waves to a micro-scale volume. These devices feature strong radiation pressure coupling between high-quality optical cavity modes and internal nanomechanical resonances. Whether for applications in the quantum or classical domain, the utility of optomechanical crystals hinges on the degree to which light radiating from the device, having interacted with mechanical motion, can be collected and detected in an experimental apparatus consisting of conventional optical components such as lenses and optical fibers. While several efficient methods of optical coupling exist to meet this task, most are unsuitable for the cryogenic or vacuum integration required for many applications. The first portion of this dissertation will detail the development of robust and efficient methods of optically coupling optomechanical resonators to optical fibers, with an emphasis on fabrication processes and optical characterization.

I will then proceed to describe a few experiments enabled by the fiber couplers. The first studies the performance of an optomechanical resonator as a precise sensor for continuous position measurement. The sensitivity of the measurement, limited by the detection efficiency of intracavity photons, is compared to the standard quantum limit imposed by the quantum properties of the laser probe light. The added noise of the measurement is seen to fall within a factor of 3 of the standard quantum limit, representing an order of magnitude improvement over previous experiments utilizing optomechanical crystals, and matching the performance of similar measurements in the microwave domain.

The next experiment uses single photon counting to detect individual phonon emission and absorption events within the nanomechanical oscillator. The scattering of laser light from mechanical motion produces correlated photon-phonon pairs, and detection of the emitted photon corresponds to an effective phonon counting scheme. In the process of scattering, the coherence properties of the mechanical oscillation are mapped onto the reflected light. Intensity interferometry of the reflected light then allows measurement of the temporal coherence of the acoustic field. These correlations are measured for a range of experimental conditions, including the optomechanical amplification of the mechanics to a self-oscillation regime, and comparisons are drawn to a laser system for phonons. Finally, prospects for using phonon counting and intensity interferometry to produce non-classical mechanical states are detailed following recent proposals in literature.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Optomechanical Resonators; Precision Measurement
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, Kavli Nanoscience Institute
Thesis Committee:
  • Painter, Oskar J. (chair)
  • Roukes, Michael Lee
  • Adhikari, Rana
  • Scherer, Axel
  • Shaw, Matthew D.
Defense Date:27 March 2015
Non-Caltech Author Email:jdc5035 (AT)
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:03312015-144223105
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8808
Deposited By: Justin Cohen
Deposited On:08 Apr 2015 19:37
Last Modified:02 Jun 2020 21:50

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