Bidimensional nano-optomechanics in a non-conservative radiation force field

Optomechanics, which explores the fundamental coupling between light and mechanical motion, has made important advances in manipulating macroscopic mechanical oscillators down to the quantum level. However, dynamical effects related to the vectorial nature of the optomechanical interaction remain to be investigated. Here we study a nanowire with subwavelength dimensions coupled strongly to a tightly focused beam of light, enabling an ultrasensitive readout of the nanoresonator dynamics. We have determined experimentally and theoretically the vectorial structure of the optomechanical interaction and demonstrated that a bidimensional dynamical backaction governs the nanowire dynamics. Moreover, the spatial topology of the optomechanical interaction is shown to be responsible for novel canonical signatures of strong coupling between mechanical modes, which leads to a topological instability that underlies the non-conservative nature of the optomechanical interaction. These results have a universal character and illustrate the increased sensitivity of nanomechanical devices towards spatially varying interactions, opening fundamental perspectives in nanomechanics, optomechanics, ultrasensitive scanning force microscopy and nano-optics.