Radiation pressure cooling of a silica optomechanical resonator
Park, Young-Shin, 1972-
MetadataShow full item record
Park, Young-Shin, 1972-
This dissertation presents experimental and theoretical studies of radiation pressure cooling in silica optomechanical microresonators where whispering gallery modes (WGMs) are coupled to thermal mechanical vibrations. In an optomechanical system, circulating optical fields couple to mechanical vibrations via radiation pressure, inducing Stokes and anti-Stokes scattering of photons. In analogy to laser cooling of trapped ions, the mechanical motion can in principle be cooled to its ground state via the anti-Stokes process in the resolved-sideband limit, in which the cavity photon lifetime far exceeds the mechanical oscillation period. Our optomechanical system is a slightly deformed silica microsphere (with a diameter 25-30 μm ), featuring extremely high Q -factors for both optical ( Q o ∼ 10 8 ) and mechanical ( Q m ∼ 10 4 ) systems. Exploiting the unique property of directional evanescent escape in the deformed resonator, we have developed a free-space configuration for the excitation of WGMs and for the interferometric detection of mechanical displacement, for which the part of input laser that is not coupled into the microsphere serves as a local oscillator. Measurement sensitivity better than 5 × 10 -18 m /[Special characters omitted.] has been achieved. The three optically active mechanical modes observed in the displacement power spectrum are well described by finite element analysis. Both radiation pressure cooling and parametric instabilities have been observed in our experiments. The dependence of the mechanical resonator frequency and linewidth on the detuning as well as the intensity of the input laser show excellent agreement with theoretical calculations with no adjustable parameters. The free-space excitation technique has enabled us to combine resolved sideband cooling with cryogenic cooling. At a cryogenic temperature of 1.4 K, the sideband cooling leads to an effective temperature as low as 210 m K for a 110 MHz mechanical oscillator, corresponding to an average phonon occupation of 37, which is one of the three lowest phonon occupations achieved thus far for optomechanical systems. The cooling process is limited by ultrasonic attenuation in fused silica, which should diminish when bath temperature is further lowered, with a 3 He cryostat, to a few hundred millikelvin. Our experimental studies thus indicate that we are tantalizingly close to realizing the ground-state cooling for the exploration of quantum effects in an otherwise macroscopic mechanical system.