Colloquium: Dalziel Wilson

    Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 3:30pm - 5:00pm
    Meinel 307

    Exploring Quantum Measurement with Nanomechanics and Light


    Nanomechanical resonators are exquisite force sensors.  In a new generation of experiments, they have even been used to “feel” the vacuum fluctuations of a laser field.  This talk addresses the opposite side of the coin: can the same laser be used to “see” the vacuum fluctuations of the nanomechanical resonator?  If so, can such a measurement be leveraged to cool a tangibly-sized mechanical object to its ground state, using feedback?  I will describe an experiment that nearly achieves both goals, based on a nanostring coupled to an optical microcavity.  Along the way, I will show how this system can be used to explore (and evade) the standard quantum limit of continuous position measurement. Time permitting, I will also describe a new class of nanomechanical resonators with room temperature quality factors exceeding 100 million. These devices undergo 100s of coherent oscillations before interacting with the thermal environment, and may enable new optomechanics-based quantum technologies.

    Speaker Bio(s): 

    Dr. Wilson received his PhD in Physics from the California Institute of Technology in 2011.  He worked under the direction of Prof. Jeff Kimble in the quantum optics group where he developed an interest in the emerging field of optomechanics.  Presently he is a postdoctoral fellow working jointly at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EEPFL) and IBM Research, Zurich Switzerland. At EPFL he works in the Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurement under Prof. Tobias Kippenberg, where he and his colleagues develop techniques to probe the quantum fluctuations of nanomechanical resonators with light.