A dissipative quantum reservoir for microwave light using a mechanical oscillator

Isolation of a system from its environment is often desirable, from precision measurements to control of individual quantum systems; however, dissipation can also be a useful resource. Remarkably, engineered dissipation enables the preparation of quantum states of atoms, ions or superconducting qubits as well as their stabilization. This is achieved by a suitably engineered coupling to a dissipative cold reservoir formed by electromagnetic modes. Similarly, in the field of cavity electro- and optomechanics, the control over mechanical oscillators utilizes the inherently cold, dissipative nature of the electromagnetic degree of freedom. Breaking from this paradigm, recent theoretical work has considered the opposite regime in which the dissipation of the mechanical oscillator dominates and provides a cold, dissipative reservoir to an electromagnetic mode. Here we realize this reversed dissipation regime in a microwave cavity optomechanical system and realize a quasi-instantaneous, cold reservoir for microwave light. Coupling to this reservoir enables to manipulate the susceptibility of the microwave cavity, corresponding to dynamical backaction control of the microwave field. Additionally, we observe the onset of parametric instability, i.e. the stimulated emission of microwaves (masing). Equally important, the reservoir can function as a useful quantum resource. We evidence this by employing the engineered cold reservoir to implement a large gain (above 40 dB) phase preserving microwave amplifier that operates 0.87 quanta above the limit of added noise imposed by quantum mechanics. Such a dissipative cold reservoir forms the basis of microwave entanglement schemes, the study of dissipative quantum phase transitions, amplifiers with unlimited gain-bandwidth product and non-reciprocal devices, thereby extending the available toolbox of quantum-limited microwave manipulation techniques.

Published in:
Nature Physics, 13, 787-793

 Record created 2017-02-02, last modified 2020-10-27

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