"Optomechanics is one of the most exciting and fastest growing fields in physics today. Through the merging of optical and mechanical systems, optomechanics studies the transfer momentum from a photon to a mechanical object. The idea of this coupling has been around for many years; however, recent advances in high Q optical cavities and nano/micro-fabrication techniques for making high Q mechanical resonators have enabled unprecedented control of meso- and macroscopic mechanical systems with light. Researchers are now entering the realm where quantum mechanical motional effects are observed and studied. Many of the goals of the field such as cooling motion to the ground state and creating non –classical states of motion parallel the successes in controlling the motion of trapped atomic ions. The goals of this project to explore optomechanics at the quantum level are well suited to both Prof. Tobias Kippenberg of the host institute and the applicant Dr. John Jost. Prof. Tobias Kippenberg is one of the leaders in the field of optomechanics, having developed and used an optomechanical system (microtoroids) that incorporates high optical Q whispering gallery modes in a high Q mechanical device. Dr John Jost is an expert in experimental trapped ion atomic physics. As a part of his doctoral research in this area, he employed many of the techniques that this project needs to utilize to successfully study mechanical motion of mesoscopic systems at the quantum level."
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