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Hybrid Optomechanical Technologies

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - HOT (Hybrid Optomechanical Technologies)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2019-06-30

A number of radically different technologies are currently on the horizon. Some, like quantum simulators, which are special-purpose computational devices that use one kind of quantum system to mimic the behaviour of a more complicated one, are likely to have a crucial impact in niche markets. Others, like improved inertial displacement sensors, which can be used to sense the movement of a device, could have significant mass-market appeal by augmenting the capabilities of the mobile devices we all take for granted. Bringing this promise to fruition requires developing new ways to translate between electromagnetic signals at widely different frequencies, e.g. between microwaves and optical signals. It requires the development of new on-chip components for signal processing that are compatible with the operating requirements of so-called superconducting quantum devices, which are crucial building blocks for producing quantum computers and other quantum technologies, and which operate close to absolute zero. It also requires the development of new techniques to sense displacements and tiny forces at the limit imposed by quantum mechanics.

To address these problems, HOT - Hybrid Optomechanical Technologies - will lay the foundation for a new generation of devices that harness the interaction between electromagnetic radiation and the motion of microscopic devices. In doing so HOT will creating a convergence between two of the most important technologies in recent decades: micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), which are ubiquitous and used in sensing and time-keeping devices, and photonic integrated circuits (PICs), which make possible direct interfaces between electrical computer chips and light-based communication systems. The operating principles of HOT devices are novel and will enable an entirely new family of uses for micro- and nano-mechanical systems that goes far beyond the state of the art.

HOT will explore these hybrid opto- and electro-mechanical devices for the conversion, synthesis, processing, sensing, and measurement of electromagnetic fields. It will use hybrid nano-scale opto-/electro-mechanical devices that are able to convert energy from one form to another, to give rise to new ways for two-way conversion between electrical and optical signals with increased efficiency. It will exploit the cooperative effects and new behaviours that arise when multiple electromagnetic fields and mechanical elements all interact together. Entangled quantum states, where the motion of two mechanical oscillators is linked so strongly that the two oscillators cannot be described as two independent objects, will make possible improved sensors. HOT will explore new materials and architectures to establish optomechanical interactions at ultra-high frequencies and bandwidths in integrated on-chip platforms. Most importantly, HOT includes a strong industrial component that will explore how the devices developed can be manufactured using standard processing techniques and packaging solutions.
During its second reporting period, HOT has:
- Implemented a mechanical transducer between radio and optical frequencies on a silicon-on-insulator substrate.
- Progressed towards an integrated electro-opto-mechanical transducer for making optical measurements of radio-frequency voltages and magnetic fields with high sensitivity.
- Demonstrated an optical circulator based on a glass microtoroid on a silicon chip.
- Realised for the first time a proposal for increasing the single-photon optomechanical coupling strength by using multiple mechanical elements.
- Contributed to the theoretical understanding of the dynamics of non-linear optomechanical systems.
- Developed an optomechanical crystal based on InGaP, which is a piezoelectric semiconductor alloy that is lattice-matched to GaAs.
- Worked on the integration of electromechanical acoustic transducers.
- Registered progress on a number of prototype packaged devices.
- Made public 44 articles in major high-quality peer-reviewed journals and preprints currently under review. This includes 2 in Nature, 2 in Nature Communications, and 1 article in Physical Review Letters.
- Participated in events coordinated by the highly visible Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE), thus extending the reach of HOT to engineers, also contributing articles to two proceedings issues.
- Contributed to a review article in the Rivista del Nuovo Cimento.
- Generated increased visibility for the project’s results by giving talks at several international conferences.
- Increased the exposure of several publics to the concept of radiation pressure and the technological possibilities it enables.
The above shows that even during its second reporting period, HOT has produced advances well beyond the state of the art in developing technologies that operate using the pushing force that electromagnetic radiation exerts on microscopic objects. HOT promises to impact several markets, ranging from communication and detection (e.g. high-speed data communication, and photonic frequency filters that are essential to telecommunications), science and technology (interfacing with superconducting quantum computing devices, and microwave photonics), sensing (for healthcare, and as Internet-of-things sensors), and fabrication processes.

More information about this project can be found at http://www.hot-fetpro.eu/ by following us on Twitter (@hot_h2020), and on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/hot-fetpro).
Applications to be explored by HOT