Friday, May 26, 2017

Levitated nanoparticle as a classical two-level atom

Martin Frimmer, Jan Gieseler, Thomas Ihn, and Lukas Novotny

The center-of-mass motion of a single optically levitated nanoparticle resembles three uncoupled harmonic oscillators. We show how a suitable modulation of the optical trapping potential can give rise to a coupling between two of these oscillators, such that their dynamics are governed by a classical equation of motion that resembles the Schrödinger equation for a two-level system. Based on experimental data, we illustrate the dynamics of this parametrically coupled system both in the frequency and in the time domain. We discuss the limitations and differences of the mechanical analog in comparison to a true quantum-mechanical system.

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