High-frequency cavity optomechanics using bulk acoustic phonons

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Science Advances  05 Apr 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 4, eaav0582
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav0582


To date, microscale and nanoscale optomechanical systems have enabled many proof-of-principle quantum operations through access to high-frequency (gigahertz) phonon modes that are readily cooled to their thermal ground state. However, minuscule amounts of absorbed light produce excessive heating that can jeopardize robust ground-state operation within these microstructures. In contrast, we demonstrate an alternative strategy for accessing high-frequency (13 GHz) phonons within macroscopic systems (centimeter scale) using phase-matched Brillouin interactions between two distinct optical cavity modes. Counterintuitively, we show that these macroscopic systems, with motional masses that are 1 million to 100 million times larger than those of microscale counterparts, offer a complementary path toward robust ground-state operation. We perform both optomechanically induced amplification/transparency measurements and demonstrate parametric instability of bulk phonon modes. This is an important step toward using these beam splitter and two-mode squeezing interactions within bulk acoustic systems for applications ranging from quantum memories and microwave-to-optical conversion to high-power laser oscillators.

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