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2009.11 Membrane Vacuum System

A vacuum system for real-time position and alignment control of a SiN membrane placed inside an optical cavity for probing the opto-mechanical interface between the intra-cavity electromagnetic field and the mechanical motion of the membrane in the Quantum regime - i.e. the quantized energy exchange between the optical field and the mechanical oscillator membrane. The interaction mechanism itself is via radiation pressure.

The membrane is a commercially available nanometer-sized thick Silicon Nitride (SiN) membrane normally used for high-resolution biological specimen imaging in e-beam and x-ray microscopy. However, in recent years these membranes have found their way into active research on opto-mechanical interfaces due to their high tensile stress and low absorption.

The membrane is mounted in a customized NewFocus three-axes motorized and vacuum compatible mirror mount allowing for the in situ control of the membrane position and angle.

The mount and two mirrors forming a cavity are incorporated into a heavy and rigid stainless steel frame. Everything is enclosed into a rigidly attached vacuum chamber that is evacuated to the level of $10^{-6}$ Torr.

This vacuum system has also been used in the work leading to the following peer-reviewed scientific publication,

K. Usami, A. Naesby, T. Bagci, Bo Melholt Nielsen, J. Liu, S. Stobbe, P. Lodahl and E. S. Polzik,

”Optoelectronic cooling of mechanical modes in a semiconductor nanomembrane”,

Nature Physics 8, 168 (2012)