The ability to control atoms' translational degrees of freedom with lasers has revolutionized atomic physics. In the past few years there has been dramatic progress towards achieving similar control over macroscopic objects. The most dramatic result (so far) in this area has been the laser cooling of mechanical oscillators. This cooling is a purely classical effect, but the hybrid optical / mechanical resonators in which it is achieved are rapidly approaching a regime where their quantum properties should be observable. I will describe a new type of optomechanical system in which a millimeter-scale membrane is dispersively coupled to a high-finesse optical cavity. This approach seems to solve some of the major technical challenges in this field, and has allowed us to laser cool the membrane from room temperature to 7 mK. I will also describe how this approach may open the door to measurements of the membrane's quantum jumps.
10 Minute Talk: Atom interferometry with phase fluctuating condensates