Abstract

Levitated optomechanics, a new experimental physics platform, holds promise for fundamental science and quantum technological sensing applications. We demonstrate a simple and robust geometry for optical trapping in vacuum of a single nanoparticle based on a parabolic mirror and the optical gradient force. We demonstrate parametric feedback cooling of all three motional degrees of freedom from room temperature to a few millikelvin. A single laser at 1550 nm and a single photodiode are used for trapping, position detection, and cooling for all three dimensions. Particles with diameters from 26 to 160 nm are trapped without feedback to 105  mbar, and with feedback-engaged, the pressure is reduced to 106  mbar. Modifications to the harmonic motion in the presence of noise and feedback are studied, and an experimental mechanical quality factor in excess of 4×107 is evaluated. This particle manipulation is key to building a nanoparticle matter-wave interferometer in order to test the quantum superposition principle in the macroscopic domain.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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