Optomechanics with silicon nanowires by harnessing confined electromagnetic modes

Daniel Ramos, Eduardo Gil-Santos, Valerio Pini, Jose M. Llorens, Marta Fernández-Regúlez, Álvaro San Paulo, M. Calleja, J. Tamayo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    35 Citations (Scopus)


    The optomechanical coupling that emerges in an optical cavity in which one of the mirrors is a mechanical resonator has allowed sub-Kelvin cooling with the prospect of observing quantum phenomena and self-sustained oscillators with very high spectral purity. Both applications clearly benefit from the use of the smallest possible mechanical resonator. Unfortunately, the optomechanical coupling largely decays when the size of the mechanical system is below the light wavelength. Here, we propose to exploit the optical resonances associated to the light confinement in subwavelength structures to circumvent this limitation, efficiently extending optomechanics to nanoscale objects. We demonstrate this mechanism with suspended silicon nanowires. We are able to optically cool the mechanical vibration of the nanowires from room temperature to 30-40 K or to obtain regenerative mechanical oscillation with a frequency stability of about one part per million. The reported optomechanical phenomena can be exploited for developing cost-optimized mass sensors with sensitivities in the zeptogram range. © 2012 American Chemical Society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)932-937
    JournalNano Letters
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2012


    • force detection
    • mass sensing
    • nanomechanical sensors
    • NEMS
    • Optomechanics
    • silicon nanowires

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