(Phys.org) Physicists at MIT have designed a quantum “light squeezer” that reduces quantum noise in an incoming laser beam by 15 percent. It is the first system of its kind to work at room temperature, making it amenable to a compact, portable setup that may be added to high-precision experiments to improve laser measurements where quantum noise is a limiting factor.
The heart of the new squeezer is a marble-sized optical cavity, housed in a vacuum chamber and containing two mirrors, one of which is smaller than the diameter of a human hair. The larger mirror stands stationary while the other is movable, suspended by a spring-like cantilever. The shape and makeup of this second “nanomechanical” mirror is the key to the system’s ability to work at room temperature.
“The importance of the result is that you can engineer these mechanical systems so that at room temperature, they still can have quantum mechanical properties,” says Nergis Mavalvala, the Marble Professor and associate head of physics at MIT. “That changes the game completely in terms of being able to use these systems, not just in our own labs, housed in large cryogenic refrigerators, but out in the world.”