Dispersive optomechanics: A membrane inside a cavity

A. M. Jayich, J. C. Sankey, B. M. Zwickl, C. Yang, J. D. Thompson, S. M. Girvin, A. A. Clerk, F. Marquardt, J. G.E. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

332 Scopus citations


We present the results of theoretical and experimental studies of dispersively coupled (or 'membrane in the middle') optomechanical systems. We calculate the linear optical properties of a high finesse cavity containing a thin dielectric membrane. We focus on the cavity's transmission, reflection and finesse as a function of the membrane's position along the cavity axis and as a function of its optical loss. We compare these calculations with measurements and find excellent agreement in cavities with empty-cavity finesses in the range 104-105. The imaginary part of the membrane's index of refraction is found to be ∼10-4. We calculate the laser cooling performance of this system, with a particular focus on the less-intuitive regime in which photons 'tunnel' through the membrane on a timescale comparable to the membrane's period of oscillation. Lastly, we present calculations of quantum non-demolition measurements of the membrane's phonon number in the low signal-to-noise regime where the phonon lifetime is comparable to the QND readout time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number095008
JournalNew Journal of Physics
StatePublished - Sep 30 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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