Mechanical Resonators Coupled to Superconducting Circuits

Juha-Matti Pirkkalainen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the development of mechanical resonators was pushed forward in efforts to record gravitational waves. In order to push down the limit of the smallest detectable force, the radiation circulating in a Fabry-Perot cavity was demonstrated to modify the damping of the cavity end-mirror suspended to act as a mechanical resonator. A few years later, motivated by the study of the internal properties of atoms and ions, the radiation pressure of light was realized as a means to cool atomic motion. In the following years, the ground-state cooling of ion motion was achieved in landmark studies. For mechanical resonators parametrically coupled to Fabry-Perot cavities, it took much longer to reach quantum ground-state cooling, both in the microwave domain, where the original experiments took place, and in the optical domain. Ground-state cooling in both regimes was reached by three groups during the preparation of this thesis and was largely due to advancements in the fabrication methods.Ground-state cooling allows, in principle, the quantum nature of mechanical resonators to be probed and harnessed. Microwave domain devices, which are focused on in this thesis, have the advantage that nonlinear elements (superconducting quantum bits, qubits) are readily available. These elements enable nonclassical state preparation of the qubit and the subsequent transfer to the microwave cavity. The goal is to transfer these quantum states to mechanical resonators. This would allow mechanics to be used as a quantum mechanical memory in quantum information processing thanks to their long lifetimes. In this thesis, various aspects of microwave domain circuit optomechanics are studied. The main goal of this thesis is to study how to enhance the coupling between a quantum regime microwave device and a mechanical resonator by using Josephson junction –based qubits. Coherent interaction between a superconducting qubit and a classical driven mechanical field is demonstrated. The analysis presented in this thesis predicts that ground-state cooling and coherent state transfer is possible in the single-phonon regime with transmon-regime qubits. Also, traditional linear optomechanical systems are considered in which the mechanical resonator is coupled to an electrical resonator. Such systems exhibit a rich spectrum of phenomena from which the quantum-limited amplification and multimode effects are considered in this thesis. It is shown that the system operates near quantum-limited amplification, which could be reached if the mechanical resonator was in the ground state.
Translated title of the contributionMekaanisten värähtelijöiden kytkeminen suprajohtaviin piireihin
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Sillanpää, Mika, Supervising Professor
  • Sillanpää, Mika, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-5580-0
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-5581-7
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • optomechanics
  • mechanical resonators
  • superconducting qubits


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