Mechanically Detecting and Avoiding the Quantum Fluctuations of a Microwave Field

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Science  15 May 2014:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1253258

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Quantum fluctuations of the light field used for continuous position detection produces stochastic back-action forces and ultimately limits the sensitivity. To overcome this limit, the back-action forces can be avoided by giving up complete knowledge of the motion, and these types of measurements are called “back-action evading” or “quantum nondemolition” detection. We present continuous two-tone back-action evading measurements with a superconducting electromechanical device, realizing three long-standing goals: detection of back-action forces due to the quantum noise of a microwave field, reduction of this quantum back-action noise by 8.5 ± 0.4 dB, and measurement imprecision of a single quadrature of motion 2.4 ± 0.7 dB below the mechanical zero-point fluctuations. Measurements of this type will find utility in ultrasensitive measurements of weak forces and nonclassical states of motion.

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