Optically levitating dielectrics in the quantum regime: theory and protocols

O. Romero-Isart*, A. C. Pflanzer, M. L. Juan, R. Quidant, N. Kiesel, M. Aspelmeyer, J. I. Cirac

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    167 Citations (Scopus)


    We provide a general quantum theory to describe the coupling of light with the motion of a dielectric object inside a high-finesse optical cavity. In particular, we derive the total Hamiltonian of the system as well as a master equation describing the state of the center-of-mass mode of the dielectric and the cavity-field mode. In addition, a quantum theory of elasticity is used to study the coupling of the center-of-mass motion with internal vibrational excitations of the dielectric. This general theory is applied to the recent proposal of using an optically levitating nanodielectric as a cavity optomechanical system [see Romero-Isart, New J. Phys.NJOPFM1367-263010.1088/ 1367-2630/12/3/033015 12, 033015 (2010); Chang, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USAPNASA60027-842410.1073/pnas.0912969107 107, 1005 (2010)]. On this basis, we also design a light-mechanics interface to prepare non-Gaussian states of the mechanical motion, such as quantum superpositions of Fock states. Finally, we introduce a direct mechanical tomography scheme to probe these genuine quantum states by time-of- flight experiments.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number013803
    Pages (from-to)1-23
    Number of pages23
    JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2011


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