Entanglement between distant macroscopic mechanical and spin systems

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Entanglement is an essential property of multipartite quantum systems, characterized by the inseparability of quantum states of objects regardless of their spatial separation. Generation of entanglement between increasingly macroscopic and disparate systems is an ongoing effort in quantum science, as it enables hybrid quantum networks, quantum-enhanced sensing and probing of the fundamental limits of quantum theory. The disparity of hybrid systems and the vulnerability of quantum correlations have thus far hampered the generation of macroscopic hybrid entanglement. Here, we generate an entangled state between the motion of a macroscopic mechanical oscillator and a collective atomic spin oscillator, as witnessed by an Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen variance below the separability limit, 0.83 ± 0.02 < 1. The mechanical oscillator is a millimetre-size dielectric membrane and the spin oscillator is an ensemble of 109 atoms in a magnetic field. Light propagating through the two spatially separated systems generates entanglement because the collective spin plays the role of an effective negative-mass reference frame and provides—under ideal circumstances—a back-action-free subspace; in the experiment, quantum back-action is suppressed by 4.6 dB.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Physics
Pages (from-to)228-233
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2020

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