Hanbury Brown and Twiss interferometry of single phonons from an optomechanical resonator

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Science  13 Oct 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6360, pp. 203-206
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan7939

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Mechanical systems at the quantum level

A number of platforms are being pursued for developing technologies that exploit the enhanced sensing and measurement capabilities of quantum mechanics. Hybrid systems offer the flexibility of combining and optimizing different platforms. Hong et al. combined optomechanical control of motion and single-phonon counting techniques to probabilistically generate a single-phonon Fock state within a nanomechanical resonator. Chu et al. used electromechanical coupling to address a bulk piezoelectric resonator with a superconducting quantum circuit. Both approaches hold promise for developing hybrid quantum technologies.

Science, this issue p. 203, p. 199


Nano- and micromechanical solid-state quantum devices have become a focus of attention. Reliably generating nonclassical states of their motion is of interest both for addressing fundamental questions about macroscopic quantum phenomena and for developing quantum technologies in the domains of sensing and transduction. We used quantum optical control techniques to conditionally generate single-phonon Fock states of a nanomechanical resonator. We performed a Hanbury Brown and Twiss–type experiment that verified the nonclassical nature of the phonon state without requiring full state reconstruction. Our result establishes purely optical quantum control of a mechanical oscillator at the single-phonon level.

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