Zeptonewton force sensing with nanospheres in an optical lattice

Gambhir Ranjit*, Mark Cunningham, Kirsten Casey, Andrew A. Geraci

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

231 Scopus citations


Optically trapped nanospheres in high vacuum experience little friction and hence are promising for ultrasensitive force detection. Here we demonstrate measurement times exceeding 105 s and zeptonewton force sensitivity with laser-cooled silica nanospheres trapped in an optical lattice. The sensitivity achieved exceeds that of conventional room-temperature solid-state force sensors by over an order of magnitude, and enables a variety of applications including electric-field sensing, inertial sensing, and gravimetry. The particle is confined at the antinodes of the optical standing wave, and by studying the motion of a particle which has been moved to an adjacent trapping site, the known spacing of the antinodes can be used to calibrate the displacement spectrum of the particle. Finally, we study the dependence of the trap stability and lifetime on the laser intensity and gas pressure, and examine the heating rate of the particle in vacuum without feedback cooling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number053801
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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