Precise measurements of the displacement of, and force acting on, a mechanical oscillator can be performed by coupling the oscillator to an optical cavity. Brownian thermal forces represent a fundamental limit to measurement sensitivity which impedes the ability to use precise force measurements as a tool of fundamental enquiry, particularly in the context of macroscopic quantum measurements and table-top gravitational experiments. A torsion pendulum with a low mechanical resonant frequency can be limited by very small thermal forces - from its suspensions - at frequencies above resonance. Here, we report torque sensing of a 10-mg torsion pendulum formed by a bar mirror, using two optical cavities on either edge. The rotational mode was measured by subtracting the two signals from the cavities, while intracavity radiation pressure forces were used to trap the torsional mode with a 1 kHz optical spring. The resulting torque sensitivity of 20 aNm/√Hz is a record for a milligram scale torsion pendulum. Such a massive optomechanical device featuring high sensitivity can shed light on macroscopic quantum mechanics and gravitational physics.
|Publication status||Published - 2019 Jul 30|
ASJC Scopus subject areas