Observation of spontaneous Brillouin cooling

Gaurav Bahl*, Matthew Tomes, Florian Marquardt, Tal Carmon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although bolometric- and ponderomotive-induced deflection of device boundaries are widely used for laser cooling, the electrostrictive Brillouin scattering of light from sound was considered an acousto-optical amplification-only process 1-7. It was suggested that cooling could be possible in multi-resonance Brillouin systems 5-8 when phonons experience lower damping than light 8. However, this regime was not accessible in electrostrictive Brillouin systems 1-3,5,6 as backscattering enforces high acoustical frequencies associated with high mechanical damping 1. Recently, forward Brillouin scattering 3 in microcavities 7 has allowed access to low-frequency acoustical modes where mechanical dissipation is lower than optical dissipation, in accordance with the requirements for cooling 8. Here we experimentally demonstrate cooling via such a forward Brillouin process in a microresonator. We show two regimes of operation for the electrostrictive Brillouin process: acoustical amplification as is traditional and an electrostrictive Brillouin cooling regime. Cooling is mediated by resonant light in one pumped optical mode, and spontaneously scattered resonant light in one anti-Stokes optical mode, that beat and electrostrictively attenuate the Brownian motion of the mechanical mode.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-207
Number of pages5
JournalNature Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


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