A quasi-mode theory of chiral phonons

TitleA quasi-mode theory of chiral phonons
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsXu, X, Kim, S, Bahl, G, Taylor, JM
Date Published2016/12/29

The coherence properties of mechanical resonators are often limited by multiple unavoidable forms of loss -- including phonon-phonon and phonon-defect scattering -- which result in the scattering of sound into other resonant modes and into the phonon bath. Dynamic suppression of this scattering loss can lift constraints on device structure and can improve tolerance to defects in the material, even after fabrication. Inspired by recent experiments, here we introduce a model of phonon losses resulting from disorder in a whispering gallery mode resonator with acousto-optical coupling between optical and mechanical modes. We show that a typical elastic scattering mechanism of high quality factor (Q) mechanical modes flips the direction of phonon propagation via high-angle scattering, leading to damping into modes with the opposite parity. When the optical mode overlaps co-propagating high-Q and bulk mechanical modes, the addition of laser cooling via sideband-resolved damping of the mechanical mode of a chosen parity also damps and modifies the response of the bulk modes of the same parity. This, in turn, simultaneously improves the quality factor and reduces the thermal load of the counter-propagating high-Q modes, leading to the dynamical creation of a cold phononic shield. We compare our theoretical results to the recent experiments of Kim et al., and find quantitative agreement with our theory.