In the recent years, optomechanics on micro-and nano-systems has emerged as a research field at the interface between optical, solid-state and quantum physics, with both fundamental and technological implications. Our research focuses on quantum optomechanics in its broader sense, covering topics of quantum optics (generation and control of non-classical states of light), quantum mechanics (decoherence in macroscopic objects, preparation and manipulation of macroscopic quantum states, etc.) and quantum sensing.
We developed three optomechanical platforms, in which the modes of high-finesse optical cavities are coupled to the mechanical resonances of systems with very different characteristics: silicon micro-mirror oscillators, tensioned nanometric membranes, and optically-trapped levitating nanoparticles. Our main achievements include the realization of quantum non-demolition measurements of light intensity fluctuations, the observation of the quantum components in the motion of a squeezed mechanical oscillator and the demonstration of quantum coherent coupling between optical and mechanical modes (polaritons). We also studied and tested novel experimental protocols to squeeze mechanical oscillators below the zero-point motion and to produce entangled, macroscopic optomechanical modes.
We are also focusing on the implementation of optomechanical quantum sensors, i.e. sensing devices achieving the quantum limit in the measurement process and exploiting quantum optomechanical properties to enhance the efficiency of the measurement and to integrate the extracted information in quantum communication systems. To this aim, one of our goals is to achieve operation and quantum performance of such devices at room temperature.
We are also exploiting the unprecedented sensitivity and accuracy of these setups to search for possible deviations from standard quantum theory, as those predicted by several approaches to quantum gravity.