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An optically defined phononic crystal defect

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posted on 2024-03-15, 16:00 authored by Thomas J. Clark, Simon Bernard, Jiaxing Ma, Vincent Dumont, Jack C. Sankey
We present a phononic crystal with a defect mode defined and controlled entirely by optical forces. By applying a strong optical trap to a single unit cell of a Si$_3$N$_4$ phononic crystal membrane, we coherently couple many modes to each other, and smoothly transfer a single defect mode into the phononic bandgap. This is accompanied by localization of the mode's spatial profile from one spanning the entire crystal to one confined within just a few unit cells, as evidenced by a 37-fold reduction in the participating mass. This proof-of-concept coupling between light and mechanical mode shape significantly broadens the optomechanical design space. It also demonstrates the feasibility of optically programmable lattice potentials, enabling (in addition to defects) reconfigurable waveguides, superlattices, and disorder, with corresponding avenues of research toward creating unique states of macroscopic quantum motion.

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