In the past decade, impressive efforts have been powered in the field of optomechanics that is the study of the coupling between a light field and a mechanical degree of freedom, with the major aims of detecting the quantum zero-point motion fluctuations of a mechanical object, and studying the fundamental quantum measurement processes. Though having their own specificities, both aims require combining ultra-high sensitivity readout together with ultra-sensitive mechanical response, sharing for example the common condition to involve measurement schemes limited at a level better than that of the Standard Quantum Limit (SQL) [1]. Using optical readout, we demonstrate for the first time sub-SQL imprecision for nanomechanical motion at room temperature. By using a cavity optomechanical near-field coupling scheme with more than one order of magnitude improved optomechanical coupling coefficients [2] combined with homodyne detection we reach a room-temperature imprecision 3 dB below the SQL launching only 1 μW of optical input power (see Fig. 1).

© 2011 IEEE

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