Shonali Dhingra

  • Graduate Student Mentor 2010, 2011, and 2012


Though the motions of macroscopic objects must ultimately be governed by quantum mechanics, the distinctive features of quantum mechanics can be hidden or washed out by thermal excitations and coupling to the environment. For the work of this thesis, we tried to develop a hybrid system consisting of a classical and a quantum component, which can be used to probe the quantum nature of both these components. This hybrid system quadratically coupled a nanomechanical oscillator (NMO) with a single spin in presence of a uniform external magnetic field.
The NMO was fabricated out of single-layer graphene, grown using Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) and patterned using numerous lithography and etching techniques. The NMO was driven electrically and detected optically. The NMO's resonant frequencies and their stabilities were studied.
The spin originated from a nitrogen vacancy (NV) center in a diamond nanocrystal which is positioned on the NMO. In presence of an external magnetic field, we show that the NV centers are excellent θ2 sensors. Their sensitivity is shown to increase much faster than linearly with the external magnetic field and diverges as the external field approaches an internally-defined limit.
Both these components of the hybrid system get coupled by physical placement of NVcontaining diamond nanocrystals on top of NMO undergoing torsional mode of oscillation, in presence of an external magnetic field. The capability of the NV centers to detect the quadratic behavior of the oscillation angle of the NMO with excellent sensitivity ensures quantum nondemolition (QND) measurement of both components of the hybrid system. This enables a bridge between the quantum and classical worlds for a simple readout of the NV center spin and observation of the discrete states of the NMO. This system could become the building block for a wide range of quantum nanomechanical devices.






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Shonali Dhingra (PhD ’15) works as a postdoc in the field of Neurophysics at UCLA. There, she studies the Hippocampus, the center for Learn