Professor Ping Koy Lam

Professor Ping Koy Lam
Position
CQC2T Node Director
Department
Department of Quantum Science
Office phone
58378
Email
Office
Physics 1 24
Webpage
http://photonics.anu.edu.au/qoptics/personal/...

Laser Levitation of a Macroscopic Mirror

Tripod scheme for laser levitation of a macroscopic mirror Tripod scheme for laser levitation of a macroscopic mirror

Levitation, derived from the Latin word “levitas” meaning “lightness”, is the process of suspending a physical object by applying a force to counteract gravity. Levitation of macroscopic objects has been demonstrated using superconducting magnetism, electrostatic field, thermal drafts, and other physical effects. In 2000, an Ig Nobel Prize in Physics was even awarded to two physicitsts for the magnetic levitation of a frog. Perhaps the most well known application of levitation is the Maglev high-speed train where levitation is used to eliminate track friction, enabling speed of more than 500 km/h for passenger carrying transport. 

While levitation is not new, it was never thought of as a technology that could be used for probing quantum theory or as a tool that could be used for precision sensing. In recent years, however, it has gained considerable attention in the physics community for these new purposes. Levitation of nanoparticles, glass beads, and other microscopic objects have been attempted for the purpose of studying the quantum opto-mechanical interactions between optical fields and mechanical objects. 

These new generation of experiments transform levitation from a process that simply counteract gravity to one that is cleaner and more precisely controlled. The aim of this project is towards the realisation of the world's first laser levitation of a macroscopic mirror. The student is asked to join a team of scientists and PhD students to theoretically model and/or develop components for the laser levitation experiment

Researchers
Primary researcher: Professor Ping Koy Lam

» read more about this research project

Laser Levitation of a Macroscopic Mirror

Scattering-Free Optical Levitation of a Cavity Mirror Scattering-Free Optical Levitation of a Cavity Mirror

Levitaion, originated from the Latin word "levitas", is the process that holds the object against gravity. Light carries momentum, so when light hits something, it applies a force. With enough light, it is possible to push objects around. This has been done under microscopes for some years using "optical tweezers" and also in space to push spacecraft around using solar sails.

While levitation is not new, it has never been used for testing quantum theory or as a tool for precision sensing. In recent years, however, it has gained considerable attention in the physics community for these new purposes. Such a levitated system could be used to measure changes in the gravitational force, investigation of quantum opto-mechanical effects and perhaps allow us to build a system that is sensitive to both gravitational and quantum effects, allowing tests of quantum gravity theories.  

The aim of this project is towards the realisation of the world's first laser levitation of a macroscopic mirror. The student is asked to join a team of scientists and PhD students to theoretically model and/or develop components for the laser levitation experiment

You can read our original proposal in Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 183001 (2013) and a more general article in The Conversation: "Levitation is just part of the power of pushy light"

Researchers
Primary researcher: Professor Ping Koy Lam
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