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Nanoparticle Manipulation and Integration for Quantum Optomechanical Systems

NAMIQOS is a fully-funded 3 year PhD project funded through the EPSRC Quantum Technologies DTP.

The project will run from October 2024 to September 2027.

If you are interested, please contact Dr James Bateman.

Swansea University Research Scholarship advert and PDF poster


Optical forces arise when light, which has no mass yet carries momentum, is deflected through interaction with a material object. Lasers of power \(\sim 100\,\text{mW}\) focused to a spot \(\sim10\,\text{um}\) exert significant forces on objects \(\sim100\,\text{nm}\) across. These nanoparticles can be levitated, in vacuum, and manipulated by modulating the optical field. Interferometric measurement and active feedback techniques allow these systems to approach quantum limits of position sensitivity.

This research is part of the field of levitated optomechanics. Since the seminal demonstration of feedback cooling to sub-Kelvin temperatures [Gieseler 2012], the field has seen rapid and intense research, with recent achievements including cooling to the quantum-mechanical ground-state with optical cavities [Delić 2020] and in a cryogenic environment [Tebbenjohanns 2021].

This project will explore development of practical devices based on levitated optomechanics including engineered isolation of specific mechanical modes and microfabrication techniques to source, prepare, and levitate nanoparticles in a compact, robust device. Microfabrication will be explored in collaboration with Swansea University's Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials [CISM]. CISM is a new £30M research and innovation facility on Swansea University Bay Campus which brings together semiconductor and advanced materials platforms and offers manufacturing grade ISO-qualified clean rooms for process development, backend materials integration and packaging capabilities, and access to advanced characterisation and analysis.

The student will benefit from integration with the nascent Swansea Doctoral Training Initiative UK-SIFS: UK Semiconductor Industry Future Skills (CISM, Meredith) which will create a vibrant, multi-disciplinary cohort experience and provide highly practical training and links with industrial partners.

Development of the robust platform provides a route towards quantum devices, where the particle is treated as a quantum mechanical object subject to superposition and decoherence. Establishing capability in this classical space is a necessary step towards realising fully quantum-limited devices, for which there are a number of exciting theoretical proposals in accelerometry with predicted sensitivities 10-17g/sqrt(Hz) [Pontin 2018].

  • [Gieseler 2012] Gieseler, Deutsch, Quidant, Novotny; PRL 109 103603 (2012)
  • [Delić 2020] Delić et al.; Science 10.1126/science.aba3993 (2020)
  • [Pontin 2018] Pontin et al.; New J. Phys. 20 023017 (2018)
  • [Tebbenjohanns 2021] Tebbenjohanns et al.; Nature 595 378-382 (2021)
  • [CISM] Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials