Nanowire oscillations help us detect single particle interactions
Mechanical oscillations are periodic fluctuations in the position of an object through its centre of equilibrium, with the classic example being a mass on a spring. The characteristics of the oscillations together with the known properties of the oscillator itself enable us to discern information about the force responsible for the oscillations. Nanoscale mechanical oscillators have found important applications as sensors. Recent work has led to unprecedented sensitivity at room temperature and the ability to detect electron-electron interactions using semiconductor nanowires and an optical readout. With EU funding of the Atto-Zepto project, the scientists behind that feat are applying it to numerous phenomena. They will then insert it into an optical microcavity to enable single-photon sensing and exploration of quantum light-matter effects as well.
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