QUANTUM OPTICS

How a particle gets its quantum kicks

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Science  08 Jul 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6295, pp. 134-135
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6295.134-g

The radiation pressure from a focused laser beam used to cool and trap particles is the basis for advanced optical tweezing methods that have found a diverse range of applications in biology, chemistry, and physics. When a trapped particle is subjected to a force, it shifts its position in the trap, thereby providing the possibility of sensing that force. By confining a 50-nm-diameter silica bead in an ultrahigh vacuum, Jain et al. isolated the particle from environment-induced jiggling and effectively restricted the particle's motion to that due to quantum optical forces. They then showed that they can measure the recoil rate of photons from the particle, providing the possibility of exploiting the effect for highly sensitive force measurements.

Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 243601 (2016).

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