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Operating nanobeams in a quantum fluid

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>7/07/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Scientific Reports
Issue number4876
Volume7
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Microelectromechanical (MEMS) and nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) are ideal candidates for exploring quantum fluids, since they can be manufactured reproducibly, cover the frequency range from hundreds of kilohertz up to gigahertz and usually have very low power dissipation. Their small size offers the possibility of probing the condensate on scales comparable to, and below, the coherence length. That said, there have been hitherto no successful measurements of NEMS resonators in the liquid phases of helium. Here we report the operation of doubly-clamped aluminium nanobeams in superfluid 4He at temperatures spanning the superfluid transition. The devices are shown to be very sensitive detectors of the superfluid density and the normal fluid damping. However, a further and very important outcome of this work is the knowledge that now we have demonstrated that these devices can be successfully operated in superfluid 4He, it is straightforward to apply them in superfluid 3He which can be routinely cooled to below 100 μK. This brings us into the regime where nanomechanical devices operating at a few MHz frequencies may enter their mechanical quantum ground state.