Cavity optomechanics is a new and rapidly advancing field in which light is used to alter the properties of a mechanical element. Our project specifically aims to enhance mechanical motion by means of optical radiation pressure in a cavity of both high optical and mechanical quality factors. When enough light is built up in such a cavity, the mechanical self-oscillation results in precisely modulated light at the cavity output. Though there may be numerous applications for cavity optomechanics, we seek to use optomechanical oscillators as a replacement for power-hungry microwave oscillators in chip scale atomic clocks. This work focuses on the RF photonic experimentation necessary to characterize and improve microfabricated optomechanical devices for the target application which requires a low phase noise optical tone at 3GHz.We have performed both threshold power and phase noise studies on single material oscillators to elucidate the means to achieve both low phase noise and low threshold power. Optical interrogation includes both tapered microfiber and lensed fiber coupling with integrated waveguides.
Project end date: 02/03/15