Cooling the optical-spin driven limit cycle oscillations of a levitated gyroscope

Yoshihiko Arita, Stephen H. Simpson, Graham D. Bruce, Ewan M. Wright, Pavel Zemánek, Kishan Dholakia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Birefringent microspheres, trapped in vacuum and set into rotation by circularly polarised light, demonstrate remarkably stable translational motion. This is in marked contrast to isotropic particles in similar conditions. Here we demonstrate that this stability is obtained because the fast rotation of these birefringent spheres reduces the effect of azimuthal spin forces created by the inhomogeneous optical spin of circularly polarised light. At reduced pressures, the unique profile of these rotationally averaged, effective azimuthal forces results in the formation of nano-scale limit cycles. We demonstrate feedback cooling of these non-equilibrium oscillators, resulting in effective temperatures on the order of a milliKelvin. The principles we elaborate here can inform the design of high-stability rotors carrying enhanced centripetal loads or result in more efficient cooling schemes for autonomous limit cycle oscillations. Ultimately, this latter development could provide experimental access to non-equilibrium quantum effects within the mesoscopic regime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number238
JournalCommunications Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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