Cavity optomechanics has been a powerful tool for investigating fundamental physics, including gravitational waves, quantum entanglement, and light-matter interactions. This research opportunity is focused on developing compact, integrated cavity optomechanical devices that push the state of the art in terms of sensitivity and accuracy for both practical and fundamental physical measurements.
One area of interest is optomechanical sensing, where high displacement sensitivity and optomechanical interactions can be leveraged for physical measurements with fundamentally limited performance. Sensor types of particular interest include accelerometers, gyroscopes, and acoustic and ultrasound detectors, which can be more sensitive than electromechanical devices by orders of magnitude. Integrated devices will allow for deployable measurements with low uncertainty and with traceability to the wavelength of light. Application areas of interest include inertial navigation, medical imaging, and all-optical sensor networks.
We are also interested in integrated cavity optomechanical devices that have sufficiently low optical and mechanical loss such that their mechanical motion can be cooled to the quantum ground state without the need for cryogenics. One device geometry of interest combines photonic crystal reflectors with a mechanical resonator that is acoustically isolated with a phononic crystal, providing both high mechanical and optical quality factors. Through optimal optical and mechanical design, this approach could allow for quantum control in the ground state while operating at room temperature, which would be highly advantageous compared to cold systems.
Finally, we are interested in developing integrated optomechanical cavities that can convert microwave photons, such as those generated by superconducting qubits, to optical photons with high efficiency in the visible and infrared ranges. This is particularly important for transferring quantum information over quantum networks but can also be used for high-efficiency optical modulation and microwave sensing applications. Most devices of interest here will convert microwave photons to acoustic waves (i.e., phonons), which are then converted to optical photons through interactions with an optomechanical cavity. Devices designs that maximize conversion efficiency and enable modular and deployable operation would be of highest importance.
optomechanics; optomechanical; sensors; mechanical resonator; quantum control; frequency conversion