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