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NIST electromechanical circuit sets record beating microscopic 'drum'
Date:3/9/2011

cting cavity cooled to 40 milliKelvin, a temperature at which aluminum allows electric current to flow without resistancea quantum property. Scientists apply microwaves to the cavity. Then, by applying a drive tone set at the difference between the frequencies of the microwave radiation particles (photons) and the drum, researchers dramatically increase the overall coupling strength to make the two systems communicate faster than their energy dissipates. The microwaves can be used to measure and control the drum vibrations, and vice versa. The drum motion will persist for hundreds of microseconds, according to the paper, a relatively long time in the fast-paced quantum world.

In engineering terms, the drum acts as a capacitora device that holds electric charge. Its capacitance, or ability to hold charge, depends on the position of the drum about 50 nanometers above an aluminum electrode. When the drum vibrates, the capacitance changes and the mechanical motion modulates the properties of the electrical circuit. The same principle is at work with a microphone and FM radio, but here the natural drum motion, mostly at one frequency, is transmitted to the listener in the lab.

The experiment is a step towards entanglementa curious quantum state linking the properties of objects between the microwave photons and the drum motion, Teufel says. The apparatus has the high coupling strength and low energy losses needed to generate entanglement, he says. Further experiments will address whether the mechanical drumbeats obey the rules of quantum mechanics, which govern the behavior of light and atoms.

The drum is a key achievement in NIST's effort to develop components for superconducting quantum computers and quantum simulations, while also working toward the widely sought scientific goal of making the most precise measurements possible of mechanical motion.

Quantum computers, if they can be built, could solve certain pro
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Contact: Laura Ost
laura.ost@nist.gov
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert  

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