Mechanical sensors for dark matter and neutrinos
The development of optomechanical systems has revolutionized the detection of tiny forces over the past few decades. As such technologies reach (and surpass) quantum measurement limits, they can enable new searches for weakly coupled phenomena, including dark matter, gravitational waves, “fifth’’ forces, and sterile neutrinos. As a demonstration of these techniques, I will describe an initial search for dark matter using an optically levitated nanogram mass sensor, which can exceed the sensitivity of even large underground detectors for certain classes of dark matter candidates in a few days of exposure. If a signal were detected, such sensors would also be able to correlate its direction with earth’s motion through the galaxy, allowing definitive confirmation that such a signal arose from dark matter. Finally, I will briefly discuss future applications of such sensors to neutrino physics in a table-top scale experiment.