09 December 2013 ICFO in the December issue of Nature Physics

Nature Physics December 2013 Cover

ICFO’s Plasmon nano-optics group appears twice in the same volume of Nature Physics The Plasmon nano-optics group led by ICREA Prof. at ICFO, Romain Quidant, has recently achieved a double hit in the December volume of Nature Physics.

The first article, entitled “Fast optical modulation of the fluorescence from a single nitrogen–vacancy centre” (pp785 – 789), an ICFO collaboration between the Plasmon nano-optics group led by Prof. Quidant and the Nanophotonics theory group led by ICREA Prof. at ICFO F. Javier García de Abajo, reports on the identification and experimental demonstration of a novel physical mechanism that enables efficient and fast modulation of the fluorescence from a single nitrogen vacancy (NV) in diamond. This result demonstrates the possibility of using these nitrogen–vacancy centers to create optical switches that operate at room temperature.

The second article, entitled “Thermal nonlinearities in a nanomechanical oscillator”, a collaboration with Prof. Lukas Novotny at ETH, is a study in which they demonstrated that an optically levitated nanoparticle in vacuum features the highest mechanical quality factor ever measured in a micro-nano-mechanical oscillator. They also showed that when combined with feedback cooling, the levitating nanoparticle can be used as a force-sensor, sufficiently sensitive to detect ultra-weak interactions, such as non-Newtonian gravity-like forces and tiny forces arising from quantum vacuum fluctuations.

It is an accomplishment on its own to publish in Nature Physics, but to achieve the improbable feat of a double appearance in the same issue deserves special congratulations to all involved!

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