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OSA Levitated Optomechanics Incubator Part 2

James Millen

Day two

The participants arrived bright and early to enjoy the second day of the OSA Incubator on Levitated Optomechanics. The meeting so far has strongly focussed on studying quantum physics using our levitated systems. We were reminded by James Millen from the University of Vienna, Austria, that there is a lot more physics going on, such as fluid dynamics and thermodynamics, and pointed us towards quantum thermodynamics. Jan Gieseler from Harvard University, USA, showed us his beautiful work on thermodynamics with levitated nanospheres in the underdamped regime. Understanding thermodynamics and heating in optomechanical systems is quite important, and Tongcang Li from Purdue University, USA, talked us through heating issues in levitated nanodiamonds.

The field of quantum optomechanics normally considers cavity optomechanics, which means using an optical cavity to boost the matter-light interaction. Our final session considerd future directions, and Brandon Rodenburg from the University of Rochester discussed how we could reach the quantum level without having to use complicated, high-Finesse optical cavities. What has been missing is a quantum description of feedback cooling, and his work provided it. Optical cavities can also be enhanced by using other trapping techniques, and Tania Monteiro from University College London, UK, explained how an electric Paul trap can be used to boost cooling. Hybrid systems are a hot topic in quantum technologies, and we should always consider borrowing techniques from as many fields of science as possible!

We finished the meeting with a discussion of controlling mirrors in space by Grover Swartzlander from the Rochester Institute of Technology, USA. This is an unusual optomechanical system, and he has considered a new way of using an “optical slingshot” to stabilize an array of mirrors which are free in space, to help enable a future generation of space-based telescopes.
Group Shot outside OSA HQ
To wrap up, this OSA Incubator has come at the perfect time for the field, and everyone has expressed the impressive progress in the field of Levitated Optomechanics, and the whole community will leave full of new ideas.
Image for keeping the session alive