Quantum effects in the motion of surprisingly large objects
Prof. Jack Harris, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
The theory of quantum mechanics is believed to describe nearly all physical phenomena. It is embedded in our understanding of the universe and much of the technology that enables modern society. At the same time, some features of quantum mechanics strongly contradict physical intuition. These features (such as entanglement, measurement back-action, and zero-point energy) are routinely observed in the behavior of very small objects. Their seeming absence in large objects can be understood within quantum theory, but still raises questions: Are there limits to the size of an object that can exhibit quantum effects? If so, what can we learn from these limits? If not, what new technology might be enabled by macroscopic quantum phenomena? In this talk I will discuss these questions from the perspective of the field known as "quantum optomechanics", and will describe my lab's experiments on quantum effects in the motion of millimeter-sized objects.
The Distinguished Lecturer Series (DLS) follows a colloquium format for a broad audience and will be followed by a reception to provide an opportunity for meeting the speaker.