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KNI Distinguished Seminar

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
3:00pm to 4:00pm
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Beckman Institute Auditorium
Lithium Niobate Nanomechanical Devices: New classical and quantum opportunities
Amir Safavi-Naeini, Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Physics, Stanford University,

Speaker: Amir Safavi-Naeini

Talk Title: "Lithium Niobate Nanomechanical Devices: New classical and quantum opportunities"


In his talk, Dr. Safavi-Naeini will present his lab's recent results on the fabrication of new devices in thin films of Lithium Niobate (LN). Safavi-Naeini will present three results, each of which leverages LN's excellent optical and mechanical properties to realize unique functionality. He will present his team's approach to piezo-optomechanical modulation[1] and tuning[2], and show how careful design of piezoelectric transducers can lead to enormous increases in device efficiency (e.g. V_pi = 0.02 V) and tunability (~5 nm/V cavity tuning). Safavi-Naeini will then show how lithium niobate nanomechanical crystals with 2-8 GHz resonances[3] can be used coupled with transmon qubits to realize the strong dispersive regime of quantum acoustics[4], an important step towards realizing quantum acoustic processors[5].


Amir Safavi-Naeini is Assistant Professor of Applied Physics at Stanford University. He received his B.A.Sc. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Waterloo in Canada in 2008, and his Ph.D. in Applied Physics at the California Institute of Technology in 2013 (Painter lab).

In his work at Caltech and Stanford, Safavi-Naeini developed optomechanical devices resulting in some of the first experiments showing quantum optomechanical phenomena. The current focus of his group's research is developing photonic, phononic, and microwave devices for quantum sensing, communications, and information processing. He is the author of more than 50 journal papers and co-inventor on 5 US patents/applications. He has been awarded the Terman (2015, 2018), Hellman (2016), Packard (2017) fellowships, and the DARPA Young Faculty Award (2019).

The KNI Distinguished Seminar Series is a new monthly series hosted by The Kavli Nanoscience Institute where eminent scientists and thinkers with strong yet varied backgrounds in nanoscience and nanotechnology share their expertise with the Caltech community. Seminars consist of a one-hour presentation, followed by a Q&A and light reception. The scopes of presentations may range from: recent outstanding scientific highlights/technological advancements, to innovative early-stage research developments, to broader cross-disciplinary topics that are relevant to nanoscience. Each seminar will be recorded and made available to the public via the KNI's YouTube channel.


[1] Jiang, et al. "Efficient bidirectional piezo-optomechanical transduction between microwave and optical frequency." arXiv:1909.04627 (2019).

[2] Jiang, Mayor, et al. (In preparation) (2019); Sarabalis, et al. (In preparation) (2019)

[3] Arrangoiz-Arriola, et al. "Coupling a superconducting quantum circuit to a phononic crystal defect cavity." Physical Review X 8, no. 3 (2018).

[4] Arrangoiz-Arriola, Wollack, et al. "Resolving the energy levels of a nanomechanical oscillator." Nature 571, no. 7766 (2019).

[5] Pechal, et al. "Superconducting circuit quantum computing with nanomechanical resonators as storage." Quantum Science and Technology 4, no. 1 (2018).

For more information, please contact Tiffany Kimoto by phone at 626-395-3914 or by email at or visit KNI Distinguished Seminar Series.