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Physics  2012 

Multimode circuit optomechanics near the quantum limit

DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1993

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Abstract:

The coupling of distinct systems underlies nearly all physical phenomena and their applications. A basic instance is that of interacting harmonic oscillators, which gives rise to, for example, the phonon eigenmodes in a crystal lattice. Particularly important are the interactions in hybrid quantum systems consisting of different kinds of degrees of freedom. These assemblies can combine the benefits of each in future quantum technologies. Here, we investigate a hybrid optomechanical system having three degrees of freedom, consisting of a microwave cavity and two micromechanical beams with closely spaced frequencies around 32 MHz and no direct interaction. We record the first evidence of tripartite optomechanical mixing, implying that the eigenmodes are combinations of one photonic and two phononic modes. We identify an asymmetric dark mode having a long lifetime. Simultaneously, we operate the nearly macroscopic mechanical modes close to the motional quantum ground state, down to 1.8 thermal quanta, achieved by back-action cooling. These results constitute an important advance towards engineering entangled motional states.

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