Can Acoustics be Quantum?
Konrad W. Lehnert, University of Colorado and NIST
Using the tools of modern device fabrication, one can create small mechanical oscillators in the form of strings, drum heads, beams, or cantilevers. These structures, with typical dimensions about 1 micron, behave as tiny versions of the resonant elements in musical instruments. They are high-Q acoustical resonators with natural frequencies between 100 kHz and 1 GHz. In this talk, I will describe how we achieve exquisite control and measurement of these micro- and nano- mechanical oscillators. Our tools are just now becoming sharp enough to bring these oscillators into a regime of quantum behavior. By entering the regime of quantum acoustics, we will be able to pursue many exciting ideas. For example, we may coherently and reversibly transfer quantum states between two incompatible systems whose only interaction is a synthetic one—created by coupling each system to the same mechanical oscillator. We should also be able to store quantum information on a chip by exploiting the relatively slow propagation of sound compared to light. Finally, we may be able to test quantum theory itself in an unexplored region of mass and size scales.
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