Aisling Johnson: Large coherence of a levitated nanosphere by mechanical squeezing

Large coherence of a levitated nanosphere by mechanical squeezing

Levitated nanoparticles have recently emerged as a new platform with new strategies to ex-plore macroscopic quantum physics, and along with unrivalled sensitivity they hold promises for force sensing and the search for new physics. Experiments are progressing rapidly and cooling to the ground-state has recently been achieved. A fundamental difficulty to perform quantum experiments with these objects, however, is the extension of the nanoparticle's ground-state in the picometer range, making its observation and manipulation challenging. Taking a first step towards matterwave experiments, the current project proposes strong mechanical squeezing as a fast route towards large wavepackets, where the anti-squeezed quadrature will exhibit an extension much larger than the initial coherent state. To probe the strongly squeezed state, tomography by free-fall and recapture is envisioned. These achievements would open up a new promising chapter in levitated optomechanics.


The Discovery Grant brought me the right support and confidence to initiate an ambitious project and gain independence as an early career researcher.



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