Mechanical rotation via optical pumping of paramagnetic impurities

Pablo R. Zangara, Alexander Wood, Marcus W. Doherty, Carlos A. Meriles*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Hybrid quantum systems exhibiting coupled optical, spin, and mechanical degrees of freedom can serve as a platform for sensing, or as a bus to mediate interactions between qubits with disparate energy scales. These systems are also creating opportunities to test foundational ideas in quantum mechanics, including direct observations of the quantum regime in macroscopic objects. Here, we make use of angular momentum conservation to study the dynamics of a pair of paramagnetic centers featuring different spin numbers in the presence of a properly tuned external magnetic field. We examine the interplay between optical excitation, spin evolution, and mechanical motion, and theoretically show that in the presence of continuous optical illumination, interspin cross relaxation must induce rigid rotation of the host crystal. The system dynamics is robust to scattering of spin-polarized phonons, a result we build on to show this form of angular momentum transfer should be observable using state-of-the-art torsional oscillators or trapped nanoparticles.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number235410
    JournalPhysical Review B
    Issue number23
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2019


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