Wednesday, October 5, 2022
HomePhysicsMirror Picture Pinpoints a Nanoparticle’s Place

Mirror Picture Pinpoints a Nanoparticle’s Place

• Physics 15, s89

A scattered laser beam’s interplay with itself creates a motion-detection technique exact sufficient to find out whether or not a trapped particle is in its floor state.

Quantum Interfaces Group, College of Innsbruck

Lately, researchers lowered the movement of a nanoparticle suspended in an optical entice nearly to its quantum floor state (see Synopsis: Levitated Nanoparticle Goes Quantum). Particles with such low “center-of-mass temperatures” supply a long-sought platform for finding out the quantum conduct of macroscopic objects and for performing varied sensing duties. However attaining this quantum regime stays out of attain for particles confined in electrical or magnetic ion traps as a result of the restricted optical entry in such experiments makes detecting the particles’ slightest movement difficult. To unravel that drawback, Lorenzo Dania, on the College of Innsbruck, Austria, and his colleagues have launched a brand new approach for measuring the place of a levitated nanoparticle in an ion entice [1]. Their technique, which detects the particle’s place relative to its mirror picture, outperforms present state-of-the-art detection strategies.

The group loaded a 300-nm-diameter silica sphere into an ordinary electrical entice located between a movable mirror and a photodetector and illuminated it with a laser beam. Gentle scattered by the particle may take two pathways: a direct one to the detector and an oblique one by way of reflection off the mirror. These two pathways created an interference sign that, when captured by the photodetector, exactly encoded the particle’s place. In comparison with an ordinary motion-detection technique primarily based on direct transmission of impartial laser beams, the self-interference sign confirmed a 38-dB-higher signal-to-noise ratio. This enchancment makes it doable to determine actions of the particle that might have in any other case been drowned in noise.

By permitting a particle in {an electrical} or magnetic entice to be cooled to its quantum floor state, the end result may allow quantum experiments with macroscopic objects in an surroundings freed from light-induced disturbances.

–Rachel Berkowitz

Rachel Berkowitz is a Corresponding Editor for Physics Journal primarily based in Vancouver, Canada.


  1. L. Dania et al., “Place measurement of a levitated nanoparticle by way of interference with its mirror picture,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 129, 013601 (2022).

Topic Areas

Quantum PhysicsOptoelectronics

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