Quantum kicks on a levitated nanoparticle


In a collaboration with the ETH Zurich and the ICFO in Barcelona, researchers from the Computational Physics Group have recently studied photon recoil from a levitated nanoparticle.

By cooling the nanoparticle to microkelvin temperatures and then measuring the reheating rate in the radiation field of the laser, the team succeeded in detecting the momentum kicks received by the nanoparticle from individual photons. The measurements are in excellent agreement with theoretical predictions, indicating that heating due to shot noise is the dominant heating mechanism in ultrahigh vacuum. This research was published in Physical Review Letters and was highlighted as an Editor's Suggestion.

"Direct Measurement of Photon Recoil from a Levitated Nanoparticle", Vijay Jain, Jan Gieseler, Clemens Moritz, Christoph Dellago, Romain Quidant, and Lukas Novotny, Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 243601 (2016).