Quantum Microphone: A device that counts individual sound particles
The technology that enabled this device will help in making more efficient and smaller quantum computers and devices.
We recently talked about Quantum internet a new way, expected to connect quantum computers in future. Now, researchers have discovered a new technology that can help find new types of quantum devices.
How sound works?
The individual particles that make up sound are called phonons (Light; Photons). Phonons are packets of vibration energy emitted by the atoms. They can be perceived as sound or heat depending on the frequency.
In quantum mechanics, a mechanical system can be represented in the form of different 'Fock' states like 0,1,2 and so on. This numbering is based on the number of phonons the system generates. Higher phonon states correspond to louder sounds. These different energy states of phonons had not been measured until now because of the small difference between two consecutive states.
“One phonon corresponds to an energy ten trillion trillion times smaller than the energy required to keep a lightbulb on for one second,” said graduate student Patricio Arrangoiz-Arriola, a co-first author of the study.
Researchers from Stanford University who engineered the device using the technology call it 'Quantum Microphone'. They mention that this device will be able to detect different states found in the sound particles.
“Sound has this granularity that we don’t normally experience,” Safavi-Naeini said. “Sound, at the quantum level, crackles.”
What are the uses of the technology?
Since, phonons as compared to photons (particles of light) are smaller and more manipulative. They have wavelengths that are thousands of times smaller than light particles.
These packets of sounds can be used for making more efficient and smaller quantum computers and devices. They can also be used to make devices that can store and retrieve information stored in the form of particles of sound. These devices can also be used to convert optical and mechanical signals.
The lead author says, “We expect this device to allow new types of quantum sensors, transducers and storage devices for future quantum machines,”.
“Right now, people are using photons to encode these states. We want to use phonons, which brings with it a lot of advantages,” says the researcher “Our device is an important step toward making a ‘mechanical quantum computer” he added.
Image credit: Wentao Jiang