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


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.

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


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.

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


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.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 113(34): 9475-9, 2016 08 23.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27503886


Spontaneous symmetry breaking occurs in a physical system whenever the ground state does not share the symmetry of the underlying theory, e.g., the Hamiltonian. This mechanism gives rise to massless Nambu-Goldstone modes and massive Anderson-Higgs modes. These modes provide a fundamental understanding of matter in the Universe and appear as collective phase or amplitude excitations of an order parameter in a many-body system. The amplitude excitation plays a crucial role in determining the critical exponents governing universal nonequilibrium dynamics in the Kibble-Zurek mechanism (KZM). Here, we characterize the amplitude excitations in a spin-1 condensate and measure the energy gap for different phases of the quantum phase transition. At the quantum critical point of the transition, finite-size effects lead to a nonzero gap. Our measurements are consistent with this prediction, and furthermore, we demonstrate an adiabatic quench through the phase transition, which is forbidden at the mean field level. This work paves the way toward generating entanglement through an adiabatic phase transition.

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


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.