Accessibility statement

Ignacio Wilson-Rae
Honorary Fellow



MSc ('Licenciatura', UBA Buenos Aires, Argentina), PhD (UC Santa Barbara, USA)

Summary of expertise

  • Quantum photonics
  • Nanomechanics and Optomechanics




Research Group: Condensed matter and materials physics

Our research is centred around the application of quantum optics theory to photonic nanodevices that offer potential for the development of quantum technologies, with a particular emphasis on optomechanical and nanomechanical systems. Recently there has been an explosion of activity in this field which aims at controlling at the level of single quanta the motional state of mechanical resonators by optical or electrical means. These pursuits have a bearing on the fundamental limits for high precision measurements involving for example mass, displacement, and force sensing. On the other hand, they could allow to test fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics. In this context, we have already provided substantial contributions to the understanding of laser cooling [1,2] and mechanical dissipation in these systems [3-5].

Our studies of mechanical dissipation include both: (i) dissipation and decoherence of high-quality mechanical resonators and (ii) vibrational decoherence induced by soft phonons on the transducers used to monitor them. The latter include optical schemes based on excitons in single-walled carbon nanotubes which may provide an alternative to radiation-pressure for (iii) optical nanotransduction. Additionally, we are developing an alternative approach to quantum effects in nanoresonators based on (iv) geometric nonlinearity and its associated instabilities.

Selected Publications:

[1] I. Wilson-Rae, P. Zoller, and A. Imamoglu, Laser cooling of a nanomechanical resonator mode to its quantum ground state, Phys. Rev. Lett. 92, 075507 (2004).

[2] I. Wilson-Rae, N. Nooshi, W. Zwerger, and T. J. Kippenberg, Theory of Ground State Cooling of a Mechanical Oscillator Using Dynamical Backaction, Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 093901 (2007).

[3] I. Wilson-Rae, Intrinsic dissipation in nanomechanical resonators due to phonon tunnelling, Phys. Rev. B 77, 245418 (2008).

[4] I. Wilson-Rae, R.A. Barton, S.S. Verbridge, D.R. Southworth, B. Ilic, H.G. Craighead, and J.M. Parpia, High-Q Nanomechanics via Destructive Interference of Elastic Waves, Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 047205 (2011).

[5] G. D. Cole, I. Wilson-Rae, K. Werbach, M. R. Vanner, and M. Aspelmeyer, Phonon-tunneling dissipation in mechanical resonators, Nature Comm. 2, 231 (2011).


Dr Ignacio Wilson-Rae

School of Physics, Engineering and Technology
University of York
York YO10 5DD
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 2702
Fax: +44 (0)1904 32 2214
Room: P/C016