Mechanical Resonators in the Middle of an Optical Cavity

  • Ivan FaveroEmail author
  • Jack Sankey
  • Eva M. Weig
Part of the Quantum Science and Technology book series (QST)


The interaction of light with mechanical motion has generated a burst of interest in recent years [1, 2, 3, 4] from fundamental questions on the quantum motion of solid objects to novel engineering concepts for sensing and optical devices. This interest was originally inspired by experimental geometries in which a mechanically compliant object acts as the back mirror of Fabry-Perot cavity. In order to maintain a stable, high-finesse cavity with this geometry, the mechanical element’s transverse dimensions must be larger than the photon’s wavelength and its thickness sufficient to create an appreciable reflectivity. This places a lower bound on the mass of the mechanical object, limiting the effect of individual photons. Here we explore a complementary set of geometries in which a nanomechanical element or a very thin membrane is positioned within a high-finesse, rigid optical cavity. This geometry (inspired by the success of cavity quantum electrodynamics experiments with atoms) extends Fabry-Perot-based optomechanics to smaller / sub-wavelength mechanical elements. The added complexity associated with inserting a third (movable) scatterer also affords a new set of opportunities: in addition to reproducing the physics of a two-mirror optomechanical system, several “non-standard” types of linear and non-linear optomechanical couples can be generated. Combined with the diverse set of comparatively lightweight mechanical elements that can be inserted into a cavity, this geometry offers a high degree of optomechanical versatility for potential sensing and quantum information applications.


Cavity Mode Optical Cavity Mechanical Element Cavity Axis Nanomechanical Resonator 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Ivan Favero and Eva Weig acknowledge support by DAAD/Egide Procope and BFHZ/CCUFB exchange programs.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRSUniversité Paris DiderotParisFrance
  2. 2.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  3. 3.University of KonstanzKonstanzGermany

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