Schrödinger cat states of a 16-microgram mechanical oscillator
One of the fundamental unanswered questions in quantum physics is why we do not observe macroscopic objects to be in superpositions of states that can be distinguished by some classical property. Various experiments have tried to explore this question by creating so-called "Schrödinger cat states" in systems ranging from SQUIDs to atom interferometers. I will present our recent work that demonstrates the preparation of a mechanical resonator with an effective mass of 16 micrograms in Schrodinger cat states of motion, where the constituent atoms oscillate in a superposition of two opposite phases. By using the resonant Jaynes-Cummings interaction between the resonator mode and a superconducting qubit, we are able to demonstrate the evolution of an initial mechanical coherent state into a superposition of distinct states in phase space. Our results may have applications in continuous variable quantum information processing and in fundamental investigations of quantum mechanics in massive systems.
Bio: Yiwen Chu is currently an Assistant Professor in the Physics Department at ETH Zürich. She leads the Hybrid Quantum Systems Group, which was established in 2019. The group focuses on using mechanical resonators in combination with other quantum systems for a variety of purposes ranging from quantum information processing to studies of fundamental physics. Yiwen did her bachelor studies at MIT and her PhD in the group of Prof. Mikhail Lukin at Harvard. She was then at Yale for a postdoc in the group of Prof. Rob Schoelkopf before moving to Zürich.