Abstract

Optical levitation of nanoscale particles has emerged as a platform for precision measurement. Extremely low damping, together with optical interferometric position detection, makes possible exquisite force measurement and promises low-energy tests of fundamental physics. Essential to such measurement is an understanding of the confidence with which parameters can be inferred from spectra estimated from the indirect measurement provided by interferometry. We present an apparatus optimized for sensitivity along one motional degree of freedom, a theoretical model of the spectrum, and maximum likelihood estimation. The treatment accounts for the sinusoidal dependence of interferometric signal on particle position, and we use the technique to extract thermodynamic quantities in a regime where simpler treatments are confounded.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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