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Phys Rev Lett. 2007 Aug 31;99(9):093902. Epub 2007 Aug 28.

Quantum theory of cavity-assisted sideband cooling of mechanical motion.

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  • 1Department of Physics, Arnold-Sommerfeld-Center for Theoretical Physics, and Center for NanoScience, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit√§t M√ľnchen, Theresienstrasse 37, 80333 Munich, Germany.


We present a quantum-mechanical theory of the cooling of a cantilever coupled via radiation pressure to an illuminated optical cavity. Applying the quantum noise approach to the fluctuations of the radiation pressure force, we derive the optomechanical cooling rate and the minimum achievable phonon number. We find that reaching the quantum limit of arbitrarily small phonon numbers requires going into the good-cavity (resolved phonon sideband) regime where the cavity linewidth is much smaller than the mechanical frequency and the corresponding cavity detuning. This is in contrast to the common assumption that the mechanical frequency and the cavity detuning should be comparable to the cavity damping.

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