We study in our laboratory quantum effects in engineered micro- and nanomechanical oscillators. Mechanical devices are already part of our information technology for timekeeping or acceleration sensors or wireless filters. Advances in Cavity quantum optomechanics has made it possible to extend quantum control routinely achieved over atoms, molecules and ions to macroscopic mechanical oscillatorsIn our laboratory we are using laser, or microwave fields to explore the quantum mechanical interaction of light and mechanical oscillators. This is part of a field, that is nowadays called cavity quantum optomechanics. In our laboratory we are studying methods to manipulate, control and cool mechanical oscillators to the quantum regime using both nano-optomechanical systems, as well as superconducting circuit electromechanical devices cooled to milli-Kelvin temperatures. Experimentally, we are designing and fabricating towards this aim optical and mechanical micro and nano-resonators, devices which are capable of storing photons or phonons in small volumes for extended amount of times. The radiation pressure coupling between optical and mechanical modes allows studying cavity quantum optomechanical phenomena that arise from the radiation pressure coupling of optical and mechanical degrees of freedom. We have developed techniques to cool, manipulate and utilise mechanical oscillators in the quantum regime.
In addition we have discovered that the nonlinear optical properties of high Q microresonators allow the generation of optical frequency combs via soliton formation. Optical frequency combs have revolutionized frequency metrology and laser science over the past decade. Microresonator frequency combs, as first developed by our laboratory, may promise a second revolution by enabling unprecedented compactness, wafer scale integration level, as well high optical bandwidth and repetition rates. Such micro-combs have already been applied to massively parallel terabit coherent communication, dual combs spectroscopy, as well as astro-physical spectrometer calibration for exo-planet searches. Microcombs could impact a wide range of technologies, from biomedical imaging in OCT to chipscale atomic clocks. We are exploring both the fundamental soliton dynamics, novel microresonator platforms and are pursing new applications of micro-combs,
Our research is at the interface of quantum and nonlinear optics with micro- and nanofabrication, combines quantum theory with experiment, utilizes low temperature techniques to reach milli-Kelvin temperature, combines theory with experiment, is fundamental in nature but has applied aspects, and is entirely embodied in table top experiments. Experimentalist and also theorist contribute to the team.
Our research is funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Research Council (Advanced Investigator Grant) and by the NCCR of Quantum Engineering, by the Marie Curie actions and the Defense Advanced Research Program Agency (DARPA). Moroever k-Lab is coordinating an European Marie Curie actions ETN (European Training Network) on optomechanical technologies (OMT):
General audience overview talk:
The Physics of High-Q microresonators: from optomechanics to chipscale frequency combs, Moscow 2013 (video)
Selected talks on cavity optomechanics:
Talk at CLEO 2012
Talk at College de France 2012
See review: Cavity Optomechanics [Science 2008]
Selected talks on microresonator frequency combs:
Frequency combs (video, “French version only”)
See review: Microresonator-Based Optical Frequency combs [Science Review 2011]