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Phys Rev Lett. 2006 Mar 17;96(10):103901. Epub 2006 Mar 16.

Dynamical multistability induced by radiation pressure in high-finesse micromechanical optical cavities.

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  • 1Physics Department, Center for NanoScience, and Arnold Sommerfeld Center for Theoretical Physics, Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, Theresienstrasse 37, 80333 Munich, Germany.


We analyze the nonlinear dynamics of a high-finesse optical cavity in which one mirror is mounted on a flexible mechanical element. We find that this system is governed by an array of dynamical attractors, which arise from phase locking between the mechanical oscillations of the mirror and the ringing of the light intensity in the cavity. We develop an analytical theory to map out the diagram of attractors in parameter space, derive the slow amplitude dynamics of the system, including thermal fluctuations, and suggest a scheme for exploiting the dynamical multistability in the measurement of small displacements.

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