The National Academies Logo
Research Associateship Programs
Fellowships Office
Policy and Global Affairs

Participating Agencies - NIST

  Sign InPrintable View

Opportunity at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Micro- and Nano-Optomechanical Systems


Physical Measurement Laboratory, Quantum Measurement Division

RO# Location
50.68.41.B8278 Gaithersburg, MD

Please note: This Agency only participates in the February and August reviews.


Name E-mail Phone
Lawall, John R. 301.975.3226


We are studying the use of light to probe and drive optomechanical systems for use in practical sensors and fundamental quantum measurement science. Our primary current research direction involves the use of diffractive elements with sub-wavelength periodicity (“high-contrast gratings”) as optomechanical elements. Such structures enable a rich variety of devices, including mirrors, polarizers, and filters in a configuration that couples naturally to free-space optics. We have optically cooled these devices to cryogenic temperatures and are planning to cool them further, into the quantum domain. We have used them in a “phonon laser,” for which we are interested in developing applications. We are now exploring high-contrast gratings with a 2D periodicity, and active-cavity devices based on these structures.

In related work, we are exploring engineered multistable potentials in optomechanical systems, and studying phase transitions between their stable states. We have also investigated the use of self-assembled quantum dots as quantum sensors of displacement, an avenue of research that is still open.


Optomechanics; Optomechanical; Cavity; Phonon laser; Photonic crystal; High-contrast grating; Optical cooling; Micromechanical; Nanomechanical;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants
Copyright © 2014. National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. 500 Fifth St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement.