Credit: EQUS.
Original Published Date: 
Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Full article issued by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS).

A collaboration between ARC-supported researchers from The University of Western Australia (UWA) and The University of California Merced has provided a new way to measure tiny forces and use them to control objects.

The research was jointly led by Professor Michael Tobar from UWA’s School of Physics, Mathematics and Computing and Chief Investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS), and Dr Jacob Pate from the University of Merced.

Professor Michael Tobar, who is a multiple ARC grant recipient and a former Australian Laureate Fellow, says that the research team has used a tiny force—known as the Casimir force—to manipulate and control macroscopic objects in a non-contacting way, allowing enhanced sensitivity without adding loss.

The researchers were able to measure the Casimir force and manipulate objects through a precision microwave photonic cavity, known as a re-entrant cavity, at room temperature, using a setup with a thin metallic membrane separated from the re-entrant cavity, exquisitely controlled to roughly the width of a grain of dust.

“Because of the Casimir force between the objects, the metallic membrane, which flexed back and forth, had its spring-like oscillations significantly modified and was used to manipulate the properties of the membrane and re-entrant cavity system in a unique way,” says Professor Tobar.

“This allowed orders of magnitudes of improvement in force sensitivity and the ability to control the mechanical state of the membrane.”


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