The last two decades there have been many advances in the research of nanomechanical oscillators. These systems exhibit high resonance frequencies, high quality factors and low dissipation. In particular, a levitated nanoparticle is a nanomechanical oscillator that has the advantage of not having losses due to the friction of clamping; this allows these systems to have coherences that are long enough to observe quantum effects on macroscopic objects.
We aim at trapping individual YNaF nanoparticles doped with Yb3+ in a Paul trap inside an ultra high vacuum environment. There, we will develop methods to cool both their center of mass and internal degrees of freedom with laser and feedback cooling techniques. This system is ideal to study and develop further understanding on the frontier between micro and macroscopic physics, and between atomic and solid state physics. For example, on this system we can study thermodynamic processes at the limit where fluctuations become relevant. Also we envision this will be a versatile platform to perform nano-scaled solid-state experiments at temperatures near absolute zero.
2022 update – We are currently building the vacuum system, the optics and the electronics around a Paul electrodynamic trap. The first steps, that are planned for this year, would be to show that we can load the trap on ambient pressure and then, at lower pressures, implement laser feedback cooling.
Openings: we are currently looking for PhD or Graduate students for this project. Don’t hesitate to write to us!