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Synchronization of spin-driven limit cycle oscillators optically levitated in vacuum

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posted on 2023-03-30, 16:01 authored by Oto Brzobohaty, Martin Duchan, Petr Jakl, Jan Jezek, Pavel Zemanek, Stephen H. Simpson
We explore, experimentally and theoretically, the emergence of coherent coupled oscillations and synchronization between a pair of non-Hermitian, stochastic, opto-mechanical oscillators, levitated in vacuum. Each oscillator consists of a polystyrene microsphere trapped in a circularly polarized, counter-propagating Gaussian laser beam. Non-conservative, azimuthal forces, deriving from inhomogeneous optical spin, push the micro-particles out of thermodynamic equilibrium. For modest optical powers each particle shows a tendency towards orbital circulation. Initially, their stochastic motion is weakly correlated. As the power is increased, the tendency towards orbital circulation strengthens and the motion of the particles becomes highly correlated. Eventually, centripetal forces overcome optical gradient forces and the oscillators undergo a collective Hopf bifurcation. For laser powers exceeding this threshold, a pair of limit cycles appear, which synchronize due to weak optical and hydrodynamic interactions. In principle, arrays of such Non-Hermitian elements can be arranged, paving the way for opto-mechanical topological materials or, possibly, classical time crystals. In addition, the preparation of synchronized states in levitated optomechanics could lead to new and robust sensors or alternative routes to the entanglement of macroscopic objects.

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