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1.
Nat Nanotechnol ; 17(2): 148-152, 2022 Feb.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34903895

RESUMO

One of the fundamental predictions of quantum mechanics is the occurrence of random fluctuations in a vacuum caused by the zero-point energy. Remarkably, quantum electromagnetic fluctuations can induce a measurable force between neutral objects, known as the Casimir effect1, and it has been studied both theoretically2,3 and experimentally4-9. The Casimir effect can dominate the interaction between microstructures at small separations and is essential for micro- and nanotechnologies10,11. It has been utilized to realize nonlinear oscillation12, quantum trapping13, phonon transfer14,15 and dissipation dilution16. However, a non-reciprocal device based on quantum vacuum fluctuations remains an unexplored frontier. Here we report quantum-vacuum-mediated non-reciprocal energy transfer between two micromechanical oscillators. We parametrically modulate the Casimir interaction to realize a strong coupling between the two oscillators with different resonant frequencies. We engineer the system's spectrum such that it possesses an exceptional point17-20 in the parameter space and explore the asymmetric topological structure in its vicinity. By dynamically changing the parameters near the exceptional point and utilizing the non-adiabaticity of the process, we achieve non-reciprocal energy transfer between the two oscillators with high contrast. Our work demonstrates a scheme that employs quantum vacuum fluctuations to regulate energy transfer at the nanoscale and may enable functional Casimir devices in the future.

2.
Nat Nanotechnol ; 15(2): 89-93, 2020 02.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31932762

RESUMO

Torque sensors such as the torsion balance enabled the first determination of the gravitational constant by Henri Cavendish1 and the discovery of Coulomb's law. Torque sensors are also widely used in studying small-scale magnetism2,3, the Casimir effect4 and other applications5. Great effort has been made to improve the torque detection sensitivity by nanofabrication and cryogenic cooling. Until now, the most sensitive torque sensor has achieved a remarkable sensitivity of 2.9 × 10-24 N m Hz-1/2 at millikelvin temperatures in a dilution refrigerator6. Here, we show a torque sensor reaching sensitivity of (4.2 ± 1.2) × 10-27 N m Hz-1/2 at room temperature. It is created by an optically levitated nanoparticle in vacuum. Our system does not require complex nanofabrication. Moreover, we drive a nanoparticle to rotate at a record high speed beyond 5 GHz (300 billion r.p.m.). Our calculations show that this system will be able to detect the long sought after vacuum friction7-10 near a surface under realistic conditions. The optically levitated nanorotor will also have applications in studying nanoscale magnetism2,3 and the quantum geometric phase11.

3.
Phys Rev Lett ; 121(3): 033603, 2018 Jul 20.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30085795

RESUMO

Levitated optomechanics has great potential in precision measurements, thermodynamics, macroscopic quantum mechanics, and quantum sensing. Here we synthesize and optically levitate silica nanodumbbells in high vacuum. With a linearly polarized laser, we observe the torsional vibration of an optically levitated nanodumbbell. This levitated nanodumbbell torsion balance is a novel analog of the Cavendish torsion balance, and provides rare opportunities to observe the Casimir torque and probe the quantum nature of gravity as proposed recently. With a circularly polarized laser, we drive a 170-nm-diameter nanodumbbell to rotate beyond 1 GHz, which is the fastest nanomechanical rotor realized to date. Smaller silica nanodumbbells can sustain higher rotation frequencies. Such ultrafast rotation may be used to study material properties and probe vacuum friction.

4.
Opt Lett ; 43(15): 3778-3781, 2018 Aug 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30067678

RESUMO

Atom-like defects in two-dimensional (2D) hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) have recently emerged as a promising platform for quantum information science. Here, we investigate single-photon emissions from atomic defects in boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs). We demonstrate the first, to the best of our knowledge, optical modulation of the quantum emission from BNNTs with a near-infrared laser. This one-dimensional system displays a bright single-photon emission, as well as high stability at room temperature, and is an excellent candidate for optomechanics. The fast optical modulation of a single-photon emission shows multiple electronic levels of the system and has potential applications in optical signal processing.

5.
Phys Rev Lett ; 120(8): 080602, 2018 Feb 23.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29542995

RESUMO

Nonequilibrium processes of small systems such as molecular machines are ubiquitous in biology, chemistry, and physics but are often challenging to comprehend. In the past two decades, several exact thermodynamic relations of nonequilibrium processes, collectively known as fluctuation theorems, have been discovered and provided critical insights. These fluctuation theorems are generalizations of the second law and can be unified by a differential fluctuation theorem. Here we perform the first experimental test of the differential fluctuation theorem using an optically levitated nanosphere in both underdamped and overdamped regimes and in both spatial and velocity spaces. We also test several theorems that can be obtained from it directly, including a generalized Jarzynski equality that is valid for arbitrary initial states, and the Hummer-Szabo relation. Our study experimentally verifies these fundamental theorems and initiates the experimental study of stochastic energetics with the instantaneous velocity measurement.

6.
Phys Rev Lett ; 117(12): 123604, 2016 Sep 16.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27689273

RESUMO

An optically levitated nanoparticle in vacuum is a paradigm optomechanical system for sensing and studying macroscopic quantum mechanics. While its center-of-mass motion has been investigated intensively, its torsional vibration has only been studied theoretically in limited cases. Here we report the first experimental observation of the torsional vibration of an optically levitated nonspherical nanoparticle in vacuum. We achieve this by utilizing the coupling between the spin angular momentum of photons and the torsional vibration of a nonspherical nanoparticle whose polarizability is a tensor. The torsional vibration frequency can be 1 order of magnitude higher than its center-of-mass motion frequency, which is promising for ground state cooling. We propose a simple yet novel scheme to achieve ground state cooling of its torsional vibration with a linearly polarized Gaussian cavity mode. A levitated nonspherical nanoparticle in vacuum will also be an ultrasensitive nanoscale torsion balance with a torque detection sensitivity on the order of 10^{-29} N m/sqrt[Hz] under realistic conditions.

7.
Nat Commun ; 7: 12250, 2016 07 19.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27432560

RESUMO

Electron spins of diamond nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centres are important quantum resources for nanoscale sensing and quantum information. Combining NV spins with levitated optomechanical resonators will provide a hybrid quantum system for novel applications. Here we optically levitate a nanodiamond and demonstrate electron spin control of its built-in NV centres in low vacuum. We observe that the strength of electron spin resonance (ESR) is enhanced when the air pressure is reduced. To better understand this system, we investigate the effects of trap power and measure the absolute internal temperature of levitated nanodiamonds with ESR after calibration of the strain effect. We also observe that oxygen and helium gases have different effects on both the photoluminescence and the ESR contrast of nanodiamond NV centres, indicating potential applications of NV centres in oxygen gas sensing. Our results pave the way towards a levitated spin-optomechanical system for studying macroscopic quantum mechanics.

8.
Nano Lett ; 14(6): 3304-8, 2014 Jun 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24837133

RESUMO

Chemically synthesized semiconductor nanowires (NWs) have demonstrated substantial promise for nanoelectronics, nanoenergy, and nanobiotechnology, but the lack of an effective and controllable assembly process has limited the wide adoption of NWs in these areas. Here we demonstrate a facile, robust, and controllable approach to assembling and densifying a parallel array of NWs using shrinkable shape memory polymers. Using thermal-induced shrinkage of polystyrene, we were able to successfully assemble and densify NW arrays up to close-packing and, furthermore, achieve tunable density (up to ∼300% amplification of density) by controlling the shrinkage process. We also demonstrate scalable assembly and densification of NWs on a 2.5 × 6 inch scale to explore the manufacturability of the shrink-induced assembly process. Finally, we demonstrate the successful transfer of the shrink-assembled NW arrays onto various 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional substrates without compromising the integrity of NW assembly and density.

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