Microwave-to-optics conversion using a mechanical oscillator in its quantum ground state

Moritz Forsch, Robert Stockill, Andreas Wallucks, Igor Marinković, Claus Gärtner, Richard A. Norte, Frank van Otten, Andrea Fiore, Kartik Srinivasan, Simon Gröblacher (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

137 Citations (Scopus)


Conversion between signals in the microwave and optical domains is of great interest both for classical telecommunication, as well as for connecting future superconducting quantum computers into a global quantum network. For quantum applications, the conversion has to be both efficient, as well as operate in a regime of minimal added classical noise. While efficient conversion has been demonstrated using mechanical transducers, they have so far all operated with a substantial thermal noise background. Here, we overcome this limitation and demonstrate coherent conversion between GHz microwave signals and the optical telecom band with a thermal background of less than one phonon. We use an integrated, on-chip electro-opto-mechanical device that couples surface acoustic waves driven by a resonant microwave signal to an optomechanical crystal featuring a 2.7 GHz mechanical mode. We initialize the mechanical mode in its quantum groundstate, which allows us to perform the transduction process with minimal added thermal noise, while maintaining an optomechanical cooperativity >1, so that microwave photons mapped into the mechanical resonator are effectively upconverted to the optical domain. We further verify the preservation of the coherence of the microwave signal throughout the transduction process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-74
Number of pages6
JournalNature Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank V. Anant, J. Davis, M. Jenkins and C. Schäfermeier for valuable discussions and support. We also acknowledge assistance from the Kavli Nanolab Delft, in particular from M. Zuiddam and C. de Boer. The sample growth was realized in the NanoLab@ TU/e cleanroom facility. This project was supported by Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM) Projectruimte grants (15PR3210, 16PR1054), the European Research Council (ERC StG Strong-Q, 676842) and by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO/OCW), as part of the Frontiers of Nanoscience programme, as well as through a Vidi grant (680-47-541/994), the Gravitation programme Research Center for Integrated Nanophotonics and the ARO/LPS CQTS programme.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.


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