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Phys Rev Lett. 2010 Feb 26;104(8):083901. Epub 2010 Feb 22.

Phonon laser action in a tunable two-level system.

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1
Department of Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology, 1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, California 91125, USA.

Abstract

The phonon analog of an optical laser has long been a subject of interest. We demonstrate a compound microcavity system, coupled to a radio-frequency mechanical mode, that operates in close analogy to a two-level laser system. An inversion produces gain, causing phonon laser action above a pump power threshold of around 7 microW. The device features a continuously tunable gain spectrum to selectively amplify mechanical modes from radio frequency to microwave rates. Viewed as a Brillouin process, the system accesses a regime in which the phonon plays what has traditionally been the role of the Stokes wave. For this reason, it should also be possible to controllably switch between phonon and photon laser regimes. Cooling of the mechanical mode is also possible.

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