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Quantum Electromechanics with Two Tone Drive


Weinstein, Aaron Jacob (2016) Quantum Electromechanics with Two Tone Drive. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z95M63MJ.


In the field of mechanics, it is a long standing goal to measure quantum behavior in ever larger and more massive objects. It may now seem like an obvious conclusion, but until recently it was not clear whether a macroscopic mechanical resonator -- built up from nearly 1013 atoms -- could be fully described as an ideal quantum harmonic oscillator. With recent advances in the fields of opto- and electro-mechanics, such systems offer a unique advantage in probing the quantum noise properties of macroscopic electrical and mechanical devices, properties that ultimately stem from Heisenberg's uncertainty relations. Given the rapid progress in device capabilities, landmark results of quantum optics are now being extended into the regime of macroscopic mechanics.

The purpose of this dissertation is to describe three experiments -- motional sideband asymmetry, back-action evasion (BAE) detection, and mechanical squeezing -- that are directly related to the topic of measuring quantum noise with mechanical detection. These measurements all share three pertinent features: they explore quantum noise properties in a macroscopic electromechanical device driven by a minimum of two microwave drive tones, hence the title of this work: "Quantum electromechanics with two tone drive".

In the following, we will first introduce a quantum input-output framework that we use to model the electromechanical interaction and capture subtleties related to interpreting different microwave noise detection techniques. Next, we will discuss the fabrication and measurement details that we use to cool and probe these devices with coherent and incoherent microwave drive signals. Having developed our tools for signal modeling and detection, we explore the three-wave mixing interaction between the microwave and mechanical modes, whereby mechanical motion generates motional sidebands corresponding to up-down frequency conversions of microwave photons. Because of quantum vacuum noise, the rates of these processes are expected to be unequal. We will discuss the measurement and interpretation of this asymmetric motional noise in a electromechanical device cooled near the ground state of motion.

Next, we consider an overlapped two tone pump configuration that produces a time-modulated electromechanical interaction. By careful control of this drive field, we report a quantum non-demolition (QND) measurement of a single motional quadrature. Incorporating a second pair of drive tones, we directly measure the measurement back-action associated with both classical and quantum noise of the microwave cavity. Lastly, we slightly modify our drive scheme to generate quantum squeezing in a macroscopic mechanical resonator. Here, we will focus on data analysis techniques that we use to estimate the quadrature occupations. We incorporate Bayesian spectrum fitting and parameter estimation that serve as powerful tools for incorporating many known sources of measurement and fit error that are unavoidable in such work.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:electromechanics, quantum noise, back-action evasion, squeezing, optomechanics, nanomechanics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Schwab, Keith C.
Group:Institute for Quantum Information and Matter
Thesis Committee:
  • Schwab, Keith C. (chair)
  • Painter, Oskar J.
  • Adhikari, Rana
  • Chen, Yanbei
Defense Date:13 October 2015
Non-Caltech Author Email:aaron.weinstein.j (AT)
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:01072016-143812513
Persistent URL:
Weinstein, Aaron Jacob0000-0002-2354-0777
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9362
Deposited By: Aaron Weinstein
Deposited On:12 Feb 2016 18:53
Last Modified:02 Jun 2020 21:49

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