Optical backaction-evading measurement of a mechanical oscillator.
Quantum mechanics imposes a limit on the precision of a continuous position measurement of a harmonic oscillator, due to backaction arising from quantum fluctuations in the measurement field. This standard quantum limit can be surpassed by monitoring only one of the two non-commuting quadratures of the motion, known as backaction-evading measurement. This technique has not been implemented using optical interferometers to date. Here we demonstrate, in a cavity optomechanical system operating in the optical domain, a continuous two-tone backaction-evading measurement of a localized gigahertz-frequency mechanical mode of a photonic-crystal nanobeam cryogenically and optomechanically cooled close to the ground state. Employing quantum-limited optical heterodyne detection, we explicitly show the transition from conventional to backaction-evading measurement. We observe up to 0.67 dB (14%) reduction of total measurement noise, thereby demonstrating the viability of backaction-evading measurements in nanomechanical resonators for optical ultrasensitive measurements of motion and force.
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) (732894)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/M506485/1)