Observation of Optomechanical Quantum Correlations at Room Temperature

TitleObservation of Optomechanical Quantum Correlations at Room Temperature
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsPurdy, TP, Grutter, KE, Srinivasan, K, Taylor, JM
Date Published2016/05/18

By shining laser light through a nanomechanical beam, we measure the beam's thermally driven vibrations and perturb its motion with optical forces at a level dictated by the Heisenberg measurement-disturbance uncertainty relation. Such quantum backaction is typically difficult to observe at room temperature where the motion driven by optical quantum intensity fluctuations is many orders of magnitude smaller than the thermal motion. We demonstrate a cross-correlation technique to distinguish optically driven motion from thermally driven motion, observing this quantum backaction signature up to room temperature. While it is often difficult to absolutely calibrate optical detection, we use the scale of the quantum correlations, which is determined by fundamental constants, to gauge the size of thermal motion, demonstrating a path towards absolute thermometry with quantum mechanically calibrated ticks.