Coupling of nanomechanical resonators to controllable quantum systems

Montinaro, Michele. Coupling of nanomechanical resonators to controllable quantum systems. 2014, PhD Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Science.


Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/diss/DissB_11080


The coupling of nanomechanical resonators to controllable quantum systems represents a growing and promising area of research. Recent advances in this field have brought to astonishing results, such as the initialization of a mechanical resonator into its quantum ground state and even the preparation of non-classical coherent states of motion. These achievements open up appealing scenarios to quantum information technologies and to the exploration of the quantum-classical boundary. From an application perspective, such quantum-mechanical hybrid systems provide a versatile and attractive tool for a variety of precision measurements, like ultra-sensitive detection of force, mass, and displacement.
Quantum control over a mechanical resonator, or, conversely, the prospect of using resonator's motion for probing quantum states, both involve some tight requirements. First of all, the interaction between the mechanics and its quantum partner has to be large on the scale of the decoherence rates of the coupled systems. In most cases, the coupling mechanism has to be activated by engineering the resonator with electrodes, magnets, or mirrors, or by using tailored laser fields. For this reason, the search for a strong coupling typically competes with the requirement of overcoming decoherence effects. In addition, for quantum effects to be observable, strong coupling has to be accompanied by the preparation of zero entropy initial states, for instance by cooling the resonator into its ground state of motion.
The motivation pursued by this thesis is to contribute to the inspiring field of hybrid systems by walking through each of the aforementioned directions. We in fact demonstrate a promising system in which optically active quantum dots, embedded in fully self-assembled core-shell nanowires, are coupled to the nanowire motion. Mechanical vibrations of the nanowire modulate the quantum dot emission energy over a broad range exceeding 14 meV, by means of deformation potential coupling. In our system, therefore, both the coupling mechanism and the quantum states themselves are intrinsic to the resonator's structure. Besides revealing unusually strong, such a built-in opto-mechanical interaction produces a hybrid system whose inherent coherence is unspoiled by any functionalization or external field and whose fabrication is simpler than top-down techniques.
We further demonstrate the use of a quantum point contact as a displacement transducer to measure and control the low-temperature thermal motion of a nearby micromechanical cantilever. We show that by including the QPC in a suitable feedback loop, we are able to cool the cantilever's fundamental mechanical mode down to the level of the measurement noise, achieving a squashing of the QPC noise at high gain. Due to its off-board design, our system is particularly versatile and suitable to force-sensing applications. Since the QPC transducer is sensitive to local modifications of the nearby electric field, our approach is in principle compatible with any nanoscale resonator, without requiring any functionalization to activate the coupling. By improving the performance of the QPC as a one-dimensional conductor and the cantilever-QPC capacitive coupling, our system has the potential to achieve quantum-limited displacement resolution and ground state cooling. We then report on some ongoing attempts to overcome the current limitations of our system and couple mechanical motion to different mesoscopic transport devices.
We remark that our demonstration of an as-grown quantum-dot-in-nanowire hybrid system opens up bright prospects on future experiments, as also testified by the very recent ferment of the scientific community around this topic. We find that the opto-mechanical coupling rate is not far from the nanowire mechanical frequency. This fact makes our system particularly promising for the quantum non-demolition readout of a quantum dot state through a measurement of the nanowire position. On the other hand, we show that the coupling can be further optimized, and the nanowire mechanical heating rate reduced, thus disclosing the captivating perspective of using quantum dots to probe and control the mechanical state of a nanowire. In this context, it would be important to investigate a possible spin-oscillator coupling in our system, given the long coherence time offered by a spin state in a quantum dot. The wide range of control over the quantum dots emission energy and the ability to tune two neighboring dots into resonance pave the way to mechanically induced emitter-emitter coupling. In addition, our monolithic opto-mechanical system constitutes a good candidate for recent proposals of a tripartite hybrid system, which would integrate an optical cavity, a quantum two-level system and a mechanical resonator. The intrinsically strong coupling between the quantum dots and the nanowire motion would enhance the interaction between the mechanics and the cavity field, leading for instance to efficient cooling of the resonator to the ground state. Finally, the quantum dot sensitivity to the nanowire resonant vibration could also support the use of our system as an integrated force probe or as a nanomechanical mass sensor. In other words, the results reported in this dissertation constitute not only a relevant proof-of-principle, moreover they open up intriguing challenges for future research.
Advisors:Poggio, Martino
Committee Members:Riel, Heike
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Physik > Physik > Nanotechnologie Argovia (Poggio)
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis no:11080
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Number of Pages:127 S.
Identification Number:
Last Modified:30 Jun 2016 10:56
Deposited On:06 Jan 2015 15:32

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