Selected Publications
 

A macroscopic object passively cooled into its quantum ground state of motion

D. Cattiaux, I. Golokolenov, S. Kumar, M. Sillanpää, L. Mercier de L├ępinay, R. R. Gazizulin, X. Zhou, A. D. Armour, O. Bourgeois, A. Fefferman, E. Collin

The building blocks of Nature, namely atoms and elementary particles, are described by quantum mechanics. This fundamental theory is the ground on which physicists have built their major mathematical models [1]. Today, the unique features of quantum objects have led to the advent of promising quantum technologies [2, 3]. However, the macroscopic world is manifestly classical, and the nature of the quantum-to-classical crossover remains one of the most challenging open question of Science to date. In this respect, moving objects play a specific role [4, 5]. Pioneering experiments over the last few years have begun exploring quantum behaviour of micron-sized mechanical systems, adapting laser cooling techniques developed in atomic physics to cool specific modes far below the temperature of their surroundings [6-11]. Here instead we describe a very different approach, passive cooling of a micromechanical system down to 500 microK, reducing the average number of quanta in the fundamental vibrational mode to just 0.3; the challenge being to be still able to detect the motion without disturbing the system noticeably. With such an approach higher harmonics and the surrounding environment are also cooled, leading to potentially much longer mechanical coherence times, and enabling experiments questioning mechanical wave-function collapse [12], potentially from the gravitational background [13, 14], and quantum thermodynamics [15]. Beyond the average behaviour, here we also report on the fluctuations of the fundamental vibrational mode of the device in-equilibrium with the cryostat. These reveal a surprisingly complex interplay with the local environment and allow characteristics of two distinct thermodynamic baths to be probed.


Nature Comm. 2021 (accepted)

arxiv: https://arxiv.org/abs/2104.09541