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Search for non-Newtonian interactions at micrometer scale with a levitated test mass

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posted on 2023-01-11, 22:02 authored by Charles P. Blakemore, Alexander Fieguth, Akio Kawasaki, Nadav Priel, Denzal Martin, Alexander D. Rider, Qidong Wang, Giorgio Gratta
We report on a search for non-Newtonian forces that couple to mass, with a characteristic scale of ${\sim}10~\mu$m, using an optically levitated microsphere as a precision force sensor. A silica microsphere trapped in an upward-propagating, single-beam, optical tweezer is utilized to probe for interactions sourced from a nanofabricated attractor mass with a density modulation brought into close proximity to the microsphere and driven along the axis of periodic density in order to excite an oscillating response. We obtain force sensitivity of ${\lesssim}10^{-16}~\rm{N}/\sqrt{\rm{Hz}}$. Separately searching for attractive and repulsive forces results in the constraint on a new Yukawa interaction of $|\alpha| \gtrsim 10^8$ for $\lambda > 10~\mu$m. This is the first test of the inverse-square law using an optically levitated test mass of dimensions comparable to $\lambda$, a complementary method subject to a different set of systematic effects compared to more established techniques.

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