Nano-acoustic resonator with ultralong phonon lifetime

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Science  13 Nov 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6518, pp. 840-843
DOI: 10.1126/science.abc7312

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Getting phonons to hang around

The ideal platform for quantum-computing and quantum-sensing applications is likely to be a hybrid system that combines the best features of different components. Superconducting circuits are relatively advanced, and finding components that can control and manipulate the microwaves will be essential. MacCabe et al. explored the use of high-quality microresonators in which the acoustic environment could be engineered such that the phonon lifetime could be extended to more than 1 second. Operating at microwave frequencies of 5 gigahertz, these quantum acoustic-dynamic devices could be coupled with superconducting circuits.

Science, this issue p. 840


The energy damping time in a mechanical resonator is critical to many precision metrology applications, such as timekeeping and force measurements. We present measurements of the phonon lifetime of a microwave-frequency, nanoscale silicon acoustic cavity incorporating a phononic bandgap acoustic shield. Using pulsed laser light to excite a colocalized optical mode of the cavity, we measured the internal acoustic modes with single-phonon sensitivity down to millikelvin temperatures, yielding a phonon lifetime of up to τph,01.5 seconds (quality factor Q=5×1010) and a coherence time of τcoh,0130 microseconds for bandgap-shielded cavities. These acoustically engineered nanoscale structures provide a window into the material origins of quantum noise and have potential applications ranging from tests of various collapse models of quantum mechanics to miniature quantum memory elements in hybrid superconducting quantum circuits.

  • Present Address: Booz Allen Hamilton Inc, McLean, VA 22102, USA.

  • § Present Address: Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.

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