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Nanomechanical testing of silica nanospheres for levitated optomechanics experiments
preprintposted on 2023-01-12, 15:59 authored by Cayla R. Harvey, Evan Weisman, Chethn Galla, Ryan Danenberg, Qiyuan Hu, Swati Singh, Andrew A. Geraci, Siddhartha Pathak
Optically-levitated dielectric particles can serve as ultra-sensitive detectors of feeble forces and torques, as tools for use in quantum information science, and as a testbed for quantum coherence in macroscopic systems. Knowledge of the structural and optical properties of the particles is important for calibrating the sensitivity of such experiments. Here we report the results of nanomechanical testing of silica nanospheres and investigate an annealing approach which can produce closer to bulk-like behavior in the samples in terms of their elastic moduli. These results, combined with our experimental investigations of optical trap lifetimes in high vacuum at high trapping-laser intensity for both annealed and as-grown nanospheres, were used to provide a theoretical analysis of the effects of porosity and non-sphericity in the samples, identifying possible mechanisms of trapping instabilities for nanospheres with non-bulk-silica-like properties.