Characterization of micro and nanoparticle mass has become increasingly relevant in a wide range of fields, from materials science to drug development. The real-time analysis of complex mixtures in liquids demands very high mass sensitivity and high throughput. One of the most promising approaches for real-time measurements in liquid, with an excellent mass sensitivity, is the use of suspended microchannel resonators, where a carrier liquid containing the analytes flows through a nanomechanical resonator while tracking its resonance frequency shift. To this end, an extremely sensitive mechanical displacement technique is necessary. Here, we have developed an optomechanical transduction technique to enhance the mechanical displacement sensitivity of optically transparent hollow nanomechanical resonators. The capillaries have been fabricated by using a thermal stretching technique, which allows to accurately control the final dimensions of the device. We have experimentally demonstrated the light coupling into the fused silica capillary walls and how the evanescent light coming out from the silica interferes with the surrounding electromagnetic field distribution, a standing wave sustained by the incident laser and the reflected power from the substrate, modulating the reflectivity. The enhancement of the displacement sensitivity due to this interferometric modulation (two orders of magnitude better than compared with previous accomplishments) has been theoretically predicted and experimentally demonstrated.
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