As part of our ERC-funded quest for quantum-enabled micro- and nanomechanical resonators, we have developed a novel type of ‘soft-clamped’ mechanical sensors. They combine phononic engineering via periodic patterning with high tensile stress. With unprecedented quality factors and low force noise, they provide a powerful platform for an array of force sensing techniques. Applications are expected not only in quantum technologies, but also materials science and nano-medicine, by improving nano-scale force imaging modalities such as magnetic resonance force microscopy. Importantly, reduced dissipation can render costly and complex cryogenic cooling obsolete in many of these applications. In this proof-of-concept project, we will (i) develop designs optimized for force sensitivity, guided by simulation tools already developed, (ii) stabilize the nanofabrication process to improve reliability and economy of the production (iii) further pursue and expand ownership of IPR, to form the basis of commercial exploitation, and (iv) develop a business case for ultracoherent force sensors. This will lay the foundation to the launch of start-up company, or joint commercial activity with existing suppliers, to commercially provide ultracoherent force sensors.
Fields of science
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