Purdue University Graduate School
Spin_Optomechanics_of_Levitated_Nanoparticles__Thesis___Modified_ithenticate_.pdf (3.85 MB)

Spin Optomechanics of Levitated Nanoparticles

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posted on 2020-08-05, 19:27 authored by Jonghoon AhnJonghoon Ahn
With the unique advantage of great isolation from the thermal environment, levitated optomechanics has emerged as a powerful platform for various fields of physics including microscopic thermodynamics, precision measurements, and quantum mechanics. Experiments with optically levitated micro- and nanoparticles have already obtained remarkable feats of zeptonewton force sensing and ground-state cooling. The novel system has also been proposed to assess various theories including the objective collapse models and macroscopic quantum mechanics.

This thesis reports experimental results on a levitated Cavendish torsion balance, a GHz nanomechanical rotor, and a torque sensor with unprecedented sensitivity realized with optically levitated nanoparticles in a vacuum environment. The system at room temperature achieves a sensitivity of (4.2±1.2)×10−27Nm/ √ Hz surpassing the sensitivity of most advanced nanofabricated torque sensors at cryogenic environments. Calculations suggest potential detection of Casimir torque and vacuum friction under realistic conditions. Moreover, the nanoparticles are driven into ultrafast rotations exceeding 5 GHz, which achieves the fastest humanmade nanomechanical rotor. Such fast rotations allow studies on the ultimate tensile strength of the nanoparticles as well.

Subsequently, the electron spin control of nitrogen vacancies (NV) in optically trapped diamond naoparticles is demonstrated in low vacuum. The configuration is analogous to trapped atoms and ions which serve as a quantum system with internal states. The effect of the air pressure, surrounding gas, and laser power on the electron spin resonance (ESR) are studied, and the temperature of the diamond is also measured with the ESR. The levitated nanodiamonds will provide the means to implement a hybrid spin-optomechanical system.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Electrical and Computer Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Tongcang Li

Additional Committee Member 2

Francis Robicheaux

Additional Committee Member 3

Mahdi Hosseini

Additional Committee Member 4

Minghao Qi