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Cavity Cooling of Nanosilicon for Quantum Interference Experiments

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NANO-Q (Cavity Cooling of Nanosilicon for Quantum Interference Experiments)

Reporting period: 2015-05-16 to 2017-05-15

The ability to control and exploit the virtues of quantum physics is expected to revolutionize many areas of science and technology, from quantum information processing to quantum enhanced metrology. However, it is still a great challenge to observe quantum effects, such as superposition, in truly macroscopic objects. Matter-wave interferometry with very massive particles is a promising route towards testing the notions of macroscopicity and the still speculative limits of linearity in quantum physics.

An intriguing goal in the community is to control the motion of mesoscopic nanoparticles, from 10^7 to 10^10 a.m.u. to the point where quantum interference can be observed. In this mass range collapse models and the role of gravity in quantum theory can be explored. It is a great challenge to control the motion of objects larger and more complicated than atoms and simple molecules. Recent proposals and experiments have begun the task, using optical cavities to cool the motion of nanoparticles, aiming to reach the level at which quantum effects are evident. The feasibility of this goal has been demonstrated experimentally by the Host Group (HG), the Experienced Researcher (ER), and others, driven and supported by theoretical work, including from the previous group of the ER.

The NANO-Q project aims to create a source of free cavity cooled nanoparticles suitable for mesoscopic matter wave interferometry. It would be a great scientific breakthrough to observe quantum effects with such massive objects. Cooled nanoparticles will also be of great technological importance, as quantum transducers and precision force sensors.
"- Characterization of various particle sources, including: Tobacco Mosaic Virus; Silica launched from Aluminium, Titanium and Silicon; Silicon nanorods launched from Silicon and Silica.

- Characterization of the effect of a buffer gas on the motion of both nanospheres and nanorods, leading to an online publication.

- Development of Silicon microcavities with collaborators, including characterization and simulation.

- Development of an optical trap for nanoparticles, in particular to study rotational effects in nanorods for enhanced control.

- Continuation of work with previous group of the ER, leading to two publications.

- Independent working on Quantum Thermodynamics, leading to the publication of a review article.

- Independent collaboration with the University of Innsbruck on the control of charged nanoparticles.

- Independent project with a student at University College London studying the thermodynamics of nanoparticles.

- Continuation of boosting public engagement profile, including delivering a high profile lecture series at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, writing for the Guardian newspaper in the UK, and being commissioned to write a popular science article for the Institute of Physic's ""Physics World"" magazine.

- Organization of a conference to be held in May 2016.

- Invitation and attendance of several international conferences and research groups, including an invitation to be on the Programme Committee of a large international conference.
- First study of the control of launched nanoparticles with a buffer gas, laying a roadmap for working with such particles cleanly and at the quantum level in the future.

- Development of novel silicon microcavities, which will enable the control of nanoparticles on a scale that does not elsewhere exist.

- First control of the rotation and alignment of silicon particles at low pressure. This will have important impact for control at the quantum level. This work included the development of an extremely stable nano-rotor, whose immediate technological application was recognised through the award of a patent.
"Commissioned artwork for popular science article on ""Quantum Engines"""