Interdisciplinary blog

Nanoscience USRG – EPSRC Summer Bursaries 2014

June 25, 2014
by Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson – ‘Cavity Cooling of the motion of Nanoparticles’

My name is Chris Dawson, and I am an undergraduate and have recently finished the third year of my four year ‘Physics with Photonics’ MPhys course at the University of Southampton. My internship is with the ‘Nano’ USRG in the School of Physics and Astronomy. I will be working with Dr Hendrik Ulbricht, a researcher in the department, as well as a Phd student and a post-doc. We will be investigating the Cavity Cooling of the motion of Nanoparticles.

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Cooling the motion of atoms was the starting point of a very active research field for quantum optics experiments. The extension of the ability to cool much more massive particles to the current tool set would enable a number of interesting experiments and applications. Interestingly, the same cooling principle – sideband resolved resonant cooling – as used for trapping ions and neutral atoms, can be applied to very massive opto-mechanical systems. This is the method that we will be using in the summer.

In this project we will trap a single dielectric polyethylene nanoparticle in the optical field inside a laser cavity and use the detuning of the optical resonance to the mechanical resonance to achieve sideband resolved cooling. The first step will be to lock a cavity to a stabilized laser (1kHz linewidth) at 1550 nm. This should be achieved during the period of the summer project. This will be the first part of a much more long term project in which we will be attempting to cool these nanoparticles in incredibly low temperatures, entering a regime in which the movement of the particles begins to obey a very bizarre set of quantum behaviours. This research could be a step towards systems that will be used in ultra-high precision sensing devices.

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The internship project will lead on to my Masters final project next year in which myself and another undergraduate will continue this research.

Categories: Blog. Tags: bursary, chris dawson, epsrc, interdisciplinary, interdisciplinary research, nano, nanoscience, research, University of Southampton, USRG, and vacation bursaries.