New Phase Transition Observed

screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-12-47-21Phase transitions, such as the change of liquid water into ice, help elucidate the complex behavior of systems composed of many particles and occur in all areas of physics. Recently, theorists have predicted that a cavity containing only a single atom should transition from opaque to transparent when the input photon flux reaches a critical number. And just as water and ice can coexist at the melting point temperature, the cavity was predicted to be both opaque and transparent close to the critical point, stochastically switching between the two states. This coexistence is a hallmark for a so-called first-order phase transition, which has been observed for the first time in a dissipative quantum system.

The article in Physical Review X and the IST press release as well as some news coverage on  DerStandard.

Hybrid Optomechanical Technologies

We are now part of a joint academic – industry consortium to work on hybrid optomechanical technologies (HOT).

HOT is a Horizon 2020 network bringing together 13 European universities and 4 companies (IBM, STMicroelectronics, Hitachi, Thales) to lay the foundations for a new generation of nanoscale devices. A particular focus will be on high efficiency electro-optomechanical systems that bridge microwave and photonic energy scales using mechanical transduction.

The European Union funds HOT with 10M as part of the Horizon 2020 initiative FET Proactive.

Cooling a dielectric mechanical oscillator to its quantum ground state

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 10.44.31 PMPreparation and detection of mechanical objects at the quantum zero-point level has been achieved in both the optical and microwave regimes. Here, the authors develop silicon nitride nanomembranes that are suitable for integrating nanophotonic, nanomechanical and superconducting microwave circuits together.


Our article just appeared in Nature Communications: