The motion of a mechanical object— even a human-sized object— should be governed by the rules of quantum mechanics. Coaxing them into a quantum state is, however, difficult: the thermal environment effectively masks any quantum signature of the object’s motion. Indeed, it also masks effects of proposed modifications of quantum mechanics at large mass scales. We prepare the center-of-mass motion of a 10 kg mechanical oscillator in a state with an average phonon occupation of 10.8. The reduction in oscillator temperature, from room temperature to 77 nK, represents a 100-fold improvement in the reduction of temperature of a solid-state mechanical oscillator— commensurate with a 11 orders-of-magnitude suppression of quantum back-action by feedback — and a 10 orders-of-magnitude increase in the mass of an object prepared close to its motional ground state.
Whittle, Chris, Evan D. Hall, Sheila Dwyer, Nergis Mavalvala, Vivishek Sudhir, R. Abbott, A. Ananyeva, et al. 2021. “Approaching the Motional Ground State of a 10-Kg Object.” Science 372 (6548): 1333–36. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abh2634.
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