Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Cindy A. Regal

Second Advisor

Konrad W. Lehnert

Third Advisor

James K. Thompson

Fourth Advisor

Agnieszka A. Jaron-Becker

Fifth Advisor

Todd W. Murray


The limits of optical measurement and control of mechanical motion are set by the quantum nature of light. The familiar shot noise limit can be avoided by increasing the optical power, but at high enough powers, the backaction of the randomly-arriving photons' radiation pressure can grow to become the dominant force on the system. This thesis will describe an experiment showing how backaction limits the laser cooling of macroscopic drumhead membranes, as well as work on how these membranes can be used to upconvert microwave signals to optical frequencies, potentially preserving the fragile quantum state of the upconverted signal.