Prof. Markus Aspelmeyer
University of Vienna, Austria.
8th November 2021 - 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm (GST)
Quantum optomechanics with levitated solids: a new perspective for the gravity-quantum interface
The quantum optical control of solid-state mechanical devices, quantum optomechanics, has emerged as a new frontier of light-matter interactions. Objects currently under investigation cover a mass range of more than 17 orders of magnitude - from nanomechanical waveguides to macroscopic, kilogram-weight mirrors of gravitational wave detectors. Extending this approach to levitated solids opens up complete new ways of coherently controlling the motion of massive quantum objects in engineerable potential landscapes. I will discuss recent experimental advances in quantum controlling levitated solids, including demonstrations of the motional quantum ground state of optically trapped nanoparticles in a room temperature environment. I will also discuss the perspective for such experiments to create superpositions of gravitational source masses. This addresses directly one of the outstanding questions at the interface between quantum physics and gravity, namely “what is the gravitational field generated by a quantum object?”.