Devices that combined electricity with moving parts were crucial to the very earliest electronic communications. Today, electromechanical structures are ubiquitous yet under-appreciated signal processing elements. Because the speed of sound is so slow compared to the speed of light, they are used to create compact filter and clock elements. Moreover they convert force and acceleration signals into more easily processed electrical signals. Can these humble, apparently classical, objects exhibit genuinely quantum behavior? Indeed-by strongly coupling the vibrations of a micromechanical oscillator to microwave frequency electrical signals, a mechanical oscillator can inherit a quantum state from an electrical signal. This recent and exciting result heralds the development of a quantum processors or quantum enhanced sensors that exploit the unique properties of mechanical systems. Furthermore, quantum electromechanics provides a powerful and versatile way to bring ever larger, more tangible objects into non-classical regimes.
Held Tuesdays at 4:30 pm in the William R. Hewlett Teaching Center, room 201.
Refreshments in the lobby of Varian Physics at 4:15 pm.
Winter 2015/2016, Committee: R. Blandford (Chair), T. Heinz, L. Hollberg, K. Irwin