Optical Lattices with Micromechanical Mirrors

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K. Hammerer, K. Stannigel, C. Genes, and P. Zoller, P. Treutlein, S. Camerer, D. Hunger, and T. W. Hänsch


Phys. Rev. A 82, 021803 (2010)

We investigate a setup where a cloud of atoms is trapped in an optical lattice potential of a standing-wave laser field which is created by retroreflection on a micromembrane. The membrane vibrations itself realize a quantum mechanical degree of freedom. We show that the center-of-mass mode of atoms can be coupled to the vibrational mode of the membrane in free space. Via laser cooling of atoms a significant sympathetic cooling effect on the membrane vibrations can be achieved. Switching off laser cooling brings the system close to a regime of strong coherent coupling. This setup provides a controllable segregation between the cooling and coherent dynamics regimes, and allows one to keep the membrane in a cryogenic environment and atoms at a distance in a vacuum chamber.