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Journal Article

Cavity optomechanics in a levitated helium drop


Aiello,  Andrea
Marquardt Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;


Marquardt,  Florian
Marquardt Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;
University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Inst Theoret Phys, Dept Phys;

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Childress, L., Schmidt, M. P., Kashkanova, A. D., Brown, C. D., Harris, G. I., Aiello, A., et al. (2017). Cavity optomechanics in a levitated helium drop. Physical Review A, 96(6): 063842. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.96.063842.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-8EC6-1
We describe a proposal for a type of optomechanical system based on a drop of liquid helium that ismagnetically levitated in vacuum. In the proposed device, the drop would serve three roles: its optical whispering-gallery modes would provide the optical cavity, its surface vibrations would constitute the mechanical element, and evaporation of He atoms from its surface would provide continuous refrigeration. We analyze the feasibility of such a system in light of previous experimental demonstrations of its essential components: magnetic levitation of mm-scale and cm-scale drops of liquid He, evaporative cooling of He droplets in vacuum, and coupling to high-quality optical whispering-gallery modes in a wide range of liquids. We find that the combination of these features could result in a device that approaches the single-photon strong-coupling regime, due to the high optical quality factors attainable at low temperatures. Moreover, the system offers a unique opportunity to use optical techniques to study the motion of a superfluid that is freely levitating in vacuum (in the case of He-4). Alternatively, for a normal fluid drop of He-3, we propose to exploit the coupling between the drop's rotations and vibrations to perform quantum nondemolition measurements of angular momentum.