Shining a HOT light on optomechanics
We all use micromechanical devices in our daily lives, although we may be less aware of them than electronic and optical technologies. Micromechanical sensors, for example, detect the motion of our smartphones and cars, allowing us to play the latest games and drive safely, and mechanical resonators serve as filters to extract the relevant cellular network signal from the broadband radio waves caught by a mobile phone’s antenna. For applications such as these, micromechanical devices are integrated with their control and readout electronics in what are known as micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS). Decades of research and development have turned MEMS into a mature technology, with a global market approaching one hundred billion US dollars.