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We report on the use of a radiation pressure induced restoring force, the optical spring effect, to optically dilute the mechanical damping of a 1 g suspended mirror, which is then cooled by active feedback (cold damping). Optical dilution relaxes the limit on cooling imposed by mechanical losses, allowing the oscillator mode to reach a minimum temperature of 6.9 mK, a factor of ∼40000 below the environmental temperature. A further advantage of the optical spring effect is that it can increase the number of oscillations before decoherence by several orders of magnitude. In the present experiment we infer an increase in the dynamical lifetime of the state by a factor of ∼200. © 2007 The American Physical Society.

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Physical Review Letters