A “Laser for Sound” from a Levitated Nanoparticle

Researchers from Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Rochester, USA, have proposed and demonstrated a phonon laser using an optically levitated nanoparticle.
[Image: A. Nick Vamivakas and Michael Osadciw, University of Rochester illustration]

The enormously fruitful technology of optical tweezers, which garnered a share of the 2018 Nobel prize in physics for pioneer (and OSA Honorary Member) Arthur Ashkin, has allowed the trapping and manipulation of nanoparticles, microbes and other minuscule objects in fields of laser light (see “Then and Now,” OPN, December 2018). Now, U.S. scientists have chalked up another win for the technology: the creation of a new type of “laser for sound” (Nat. Photon., doi: 10.1038/s41566-019-0395-5).