Quantum optomechanics uses optical means to generate and manipulate quantum states of motion of mechanical resonators. This provides an intriguing platform for the study of fundamental physics and the development of novel quantum devices. Yet, the challenge of reconstructing and verifying the quantum state of mechanical systems has remained a major roadblock in the field. Here, we present a novel approach that allows for tomographic reconstruction of the quantum state of a mechanical system without the need for extremely high quality optical cavities. We show that, without relying on the usual state transfer presumption between light an mechanics, the full optomechanical Hamiltonian can be exploited to imprint mechanical tomograms on a strong optical coherent pulse, which can then be read out using well-established techniques. Furthermore, with only a small number of measurements, our method can be used to witness nonclassical features of mechanical systems without requiring full tomography. By relaxing the experimental requirements, our technique thus opens a feasible route towards verifying the quantum state of mechanical resonators and their nonclassical behaviour in a wide range of optomechanical systems.
Here, we introduce a new technique for optomechanical quantum state tomography and nonclassicality verification with the potential to avoid much of the experimental challenges typically associated with this task. While previous approaches mostly aimed at completely transferring the mechanical state of motion onto a single photon, our method works more like taking two-dimensional snapshots of the three-dimensional phase-space distribution of the mechanical system, using strong pulses of light. From these snapshots the state of motion can be reconstructed using standard procedures. Due to the significantly reduced experimental requirements, this method can be applied to a wide range of state-of-the-art optomechanical experiments. Furthermore, it makes it possible to certify that a certain state of motion is nonclassical without having to reconstruct the state and using only a small number of noisy measurements.
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