“The Q-ROOT Project investigating quantum optomechanics at room temperature for the first time”.

5 years ago, the field of optomechanics has entered the quantum regime. By doing so, this domain which investigates the reciprocal interactions between light and mechanical motion has overcome the long-standing paradox of Quantum Mechanical effects at the macroscopic scale. Such outstanding achievement relies on the so-called “cavity nano-optomechanical” technology, which combines strongly reduced dimensions with ultra-high optical confinement, enabling very large optomechanical coupling rates at the nanoscale.

In a more fundamental perspective, decreasing the size of optomechanical systems has enabled minimizing the detrimental effects of decoherence, resulting in a quasi-instantaneous collapse of quantum coherence at a macroscopic scale. At present, optomechanical systems seem to have reached their limits at cryogenic temperatures and remain overly sensitive to decoherence at room temperature to display any quantum behaviour.

The Q-ROOT project proposes a novel cavity optomechanical approach showing such unprecedentedly large coupling rates that it will operate in the quantum regime at room temperature for the first time. Our concept relies on tethering a low-loss nano-optical scatterer at the edge of the lightest possible mechanical device that is a carbon nanotube resonator. This system is expected to outperform the state-of-the-art (including atom–based systems) by orders of magnitude, even at room temperature. Amongst objectives, Q-ROOT notably plans to demonstrate ground-state cooling, strong ponderomotive squeezing, the standard quantum limit, quantum non-demolition of mechanical Fock states, and optomechanical photon blockade at room temperature. Besides very fundamental impact, the unique sensing abilities of the system developed in Q-ROOT will be further utilized in order to perform quantum limited sensing applications at room temperature, paving a generalized use of optomechanics for quantum sensing and information technology at room temperature.



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