Optomechanics: From gravity waves to macroscopic quantum mechanics
In cavity optomechanical systems, the motion of a mechanical element is
sensed by its influence on the field within an electromagnetic
resonator. While their experimental realizations are diverse, with
mechanical elements ranging from picogram-scale nanofabricated
filaments to the kilogram-scale mirrors of the LIGO detector and
optical systems ranging from stripline resonators to kilometers-long
optical cavities, such systems are converging on the common goal of
quantum limited operation. I will discuss the use of ensembles of
ultracold trapped atoms as mechanical elements within a high-finesse
optical cavity. With this system, we realize cavity optomechanics in a
regime where both the "opto" and the "mechanics" portions of the hybrid
system show distinct quantum mechanical features.
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