12:00 - 13:00
Nanophysics with levitated particles
There are some notable and surprising physical processes which one can only access at the nanoscale. The laws of thermodynamics, which are based on the average behaviour of large numbers of particles, operate in a different way when your system has few degrees of freedom, and when its energy scale is comparable to that of the environment. And of course, as we probe the microscopic world we expect to encounter quantum effects. The challenge in studying nanophysics, is the isolation of your system from the overwhelming thermal energy of the environment. One approach is to levitate your system. In this talk I will describe experiments where nanoparticles are levitated in optical or electrical fields. For optically trapped particles, I will demonstrate the remarkable degree of control we have over their dynamics. This will allow us to probe quantum mechanics at an unprecedented mass scale. For electrically levitated charged particles, I will introduce a mechanism by which we can couple their motion to external circuitry, to enable cooling, sensing and bath-engineering.