Quantum optical control of levitated solids
The quantum optical control of solid-state mechanical devices, quantum optomechanics, has emerged as a new frontier of light-matter interactions. Objects currently under investigation cover a mass range of more than 17 orders of magnitude - from nanomechanical waveguides to macroscopic, kilogram-weight mirrors of gravitational wave detectors. Extending this approach to levitated solids opens up complete new ways of coherently controlling the motion of massive quantum objects in engineerable potential landscapes. I will discuss recent experimental advances in quantum controlling levitated solids, including demonstrations of the motional quantum ground state of optically trapped nanoparticles in a room temperature environment using either optical cavities or quantum Kalman filtering. I will also discuss a new idea to observe quantum interference of a largely delocalized 100nm silica particle, which provides a route to experimentally realizing quantum superpositions of large mass and macroscopic separation.