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April 20th 2019

The aim of the FOM programme 'Single Phonon Nanomechanics' is to investigate mechanical vibrations of resonating systems at the nanoscale and to bring these vibrations under control. By manipulating the vibrations, researchers hope to use resonating mechanical systems (resonators) to allow different quantum systems to communicate with each other. In their research, for example, the researchers are using a layer of molybdenum and sulphide just one atom thick. This layer can even be brought into motion using an extremely weak laser beam.

In the past year, huge developments have taken place in this programme. Two cooling machines, which were requested within the project, have been delivered and, with just a few modifications to the second system, installed. For the various mechanical resonators that will be used, the researchers have developed the most important manufacturing protocols. During the next year the first actual measurements will be carried out.

Linking quantum systems
The initial aim is to evaluate how slowly the vibrations in these systems attenuate and to determine how this attenuation can then be lowered even further still. The attenuation is the most important limiting factor in the usability of mechanical resonators as quantum objects. After that the researchers will use the mechanical resonators to test new methods to actually get the systems in their quantum ground state and then to link them to each other.

The first preparatory measurements have already been done on the quantum systems that will be used. During the next year it is expected that the programme researchers will not only test the first resonators for the level of attenuation but will also be able to start linking the new resonators to the quantum systems start straightaway.