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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: Michael Duncan
  • Vol. 13, Iss. 14 — Jul. 11, 2005
  • pp: 5293–5301

Radiation-pressure-driven micro-mechanical oscillator

H. Rokhsari, T. J. Kippenberg, T. Carmon, and K. J. Vahala  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 13, Issue 14, pp. 5293-5301 (2005)

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As Q factor is boosted in microscale optical resonant systems there will be a natural tendency for these systems to experience a radiation-pressure induced instability. The instability is manifested as a regenerative oscillation (at radio frequencies) of the mechanical modes of the microcavity. The first observation of this radiation-pressure-induced instability is reported here. Embodied within a microscale, chip-based device reported here this mechanism can benefit both research into macroscale quantum mechanical phenomena [1] and improve the understanding of the mechanism within the context of LIGO [2]. It also suggests that new technologies are possible which will leverage the phenomenon within photonics.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(140.4780) Lasers and laser optics : Optical resonators
(230.1040) Optical devices : Acousto-optical devices
(230.1150) Optical devices : All-optical devices

ToC Category:
Research Papers

Original Manuscript: May 10, 2005
Revised Manuscript: June 23, 2005
Published: July 11, 2005

H. Rokhsari, T. Kippenberg, T. Carmon, and K.J. Vahala, "Radiation-pressure-driven micro-mechanical oscillator," Opt. Express 13, 5293-5301 (2005)

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  8. The characteristics of the overall waveguide-resonator system can be viewed as an optical modulator that is driven by this oscillation. This modulator has a nonlinear transfer function that manifests itself (in the modulated pump power) through the appearance of harmonics of the characteristic mechanical eigen-frequencies. These harmonics are easily observed upon detection of the modulated pump (see Fig. 2).
  9. For f (d) <0 , i.e. a red shift of the pump frequency with respect to the cavity mode, the phase of the radiation pressure variations actually damps or �??cools�?? the vibrations. Note that no external feedback system is necessary here to damp the vibrations or �??cool�?? the resonator. The feedback system is inherent to the coupling mechanism. Due to the high quality factor of our cavities (Q ~ 10 million) the �??red shifted�?? tail of the optical mode is not thermally stable (see H. Rokhsari et. al. "Loss characterization in micro-cavities using the thermal bistability effect. Applied Physics Letters 85, 3029-3031 (2004)). Replacing the cavity material (silica) with a negative thermo-optic coefficient material would stabilize the red shifted tail and cavity-cooling induced by radiation pressure effects could be observable. [CrossRef]
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  17. We note that as evident in the renderings provided in Figs. 1 and 2, the n=3 mechanical mode has a strong radial component to its motion and hence understanding of its excitation by way of radiation pressure (which itself is primarily radial in direction) is straightforward. In contrast, the n=1 mode motion is transverse, requiring a different method of force transduction. The details here, including threshold calculations, will be presented in a forthcoming article where it is shown that minute offsets of the optical mode from the equatorial plane provide a moment arm for action of radiation pressure. The resulting torque induces the transverse motion associated with the n=1 mode. Modelling, including an SEM measurement of the offset, confirms this mechanism.
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