Cavity optical spring sensing for single molecules

Date

2017-02-28

Authors

Yu, Wenyan

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Abstract

This thesis investigated single nanoparticle/molecule detections using a whispering gallery mode (WGM) microcavity, with focuses on sensing with the cavity optomechanical oscillation (OMO). The high quality (Q) factor and small mode volume properties of a WGM microcavity make it possible to establish a strong intracavity power density with a small amount of input optical power. Such a high optical power density exerts a radiation pressure that is sufficient to push the cavity wall moving outward. The dynamic interaction between the optical field and the mechanical motion eventually results in a regenerative mechanical oscillation of the WGM cavity, which is termed as the optomechanical oscillation. With a high Q spherical microcavity, the observation of OMO in heavy water is reported. To the best knowledge of the author, this is the first demonstration of the cavity OMO in an aqueous environment. Furthermore, by utilizing the properties of reactive sensing, cavity OMO, and optical spring effect, we demonstrated a new sensing mechanism that improves the WGM microcavity sensing resolution by several orders of magnitude. Finally, we conducted the demonstration of in-vitro molecule sensing by detecting single bindings of the 66 kDa Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA) protein molecules at a signal-to-noise ratio of 16.8.

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Keywords

Micro-optical devices, Optomechanics, Resonators

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