A macroscopic object passively cooled into its quantum ground state of motion beyond single-mode cooling

D. Cattiaux, I. Golokolenov, S. Kumar, M. Sillanpää, L. Mercier de Lépinay, R. R. Gazizulin, X. Zhou, A. D. Armour, O. Bourgeois, A. Fefferman, E. Collin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
72 Downloads (Pure)


The nature of the quantum-to-classical crossover remains one of the most challenging open question of Science to date. In this respect, moving objects play a specific role. Pioneering experiments over the last few years have begun exploring quantum behaviour of micron-sized mechanical systems, either by passively cooling single GHz modes, or by adapting laser cooling techniques developed in atomic physics to cool specific low-frequency modes far below the temperature of their surroundings. Here instead we describe a very different approach, passive cooling of a whole micromechanical system down to 500 μK, reducing the average number of quanta in the fundamental vibrational mode at 15 MHz to just 0.3 (with even lower values expected for higher harmonics); the challenge being to be still able to detect the motion without disturbing the system noticeably. With such an approach higher harmonics and the surrounding environment are also cooled, leading to potentially much longer mechanical coherence times, and enabling experiments questioning mechanical wave-function collapse, potentially from the gravitational background, and quantum thermodynamics. Beyond the average behaviour, here we also report on the fluctuations of the fundamental vibrational mode of the device in-equilibrium with the cryostat. These reveal a surprisingly complex interplay with the local environment and allow characteristics of two distinct thermodynamic baths to be probed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6182
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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