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Physicists skirt thermal vibration, transfer optical signal via mechanical oscillator
Date:11/15/2012

id, consider a tuning fork:

"If you were able to look at the tuning fork very closely, you would see that it is always vibrating a little bit on its own, just from the thermal motion," said co-author Victor Fiore, a graduate student. "This causes a problem because the noise from the thermal motion can swamp out the signal that we care about."

The Oregon group solved the problem by demonstrating the "dark-mode" approach proposed earlier this year by theoretical physicists from McGill University and the University of California, Merced. By achieving the dark mode, the color-conversion process is immune to thermal noise, even though the conversion is still mediated by the same mechanical oscillator. This approach provides an alternative to cooling the mechanical oscillator to eliminate the noise.

Describing the dark mode is difficult, but co-author Mark C. Kuzyk, another graduate student in Wang's lab, suggests picturing three children sitting on swings, holding hands. "The two outermost kids are the photons (light) of different colors, and the middle child is the mechanical oscillator. When all three children are sitting still, there are no photons or vibrations in the system. If we push one of the swings, all three kids will start moving. In the dark mode approach, we push and pull on the swings in a special way that generates a very particular pattern of swinging.

"As the child on the left hand side moves forward," Kuzyk continued, "the child on the right hand side moves backward, such that the middle child never moves. This is interesting because even though the middle child never moves, she is a necessary part of the system. Without her, there would be no way to couple the two outermost swings."

For applications in a quantum Internet, the next challenge is to demonstrate that this process can work at the level of a single photon and can be implemented on a semiconductor chip, Wang said.

"This fundamental re
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Contact: Jim Barlow
jebarlow@uoregon.edu
541-346-3481
University of Oregon
Source:Eurekalert  

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