What does sound consist of?

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Every day we are surrounded by hundreds of different sounds. Have you ever thought about the structure of the sound? From the school physics we know ourselves with sound waves, but everything in our universe consists of elementary particles. And the sound wave is no exception. To study exactly what makes sound, physicists at Stanford University have developed a very sensitive microphone. It can be called, to some degree, a "quantum microphone" because it can pick up vibrations of elementary particles called phonons.

What is Phonon?

As early as 1907, Albert Einstein proposed the possibility of the existence of phonons. This is a particle that is a collection of vibrational energy. Phonons are emitted by excited atoms and appear as sound of different frequencies. Each phonon contains a certain amount of vibrational energy. The energy unit is referred to by the term jib. If 1 jib is detected in the sound wave, it contains 1 phon. If 2 jib – 2 phonons and so on. The work of the "quantum microphone" is based on the principle of the measurement of jib.

What is a quantum microphone and how does it work?

The quantum microphone is a cavity cooled to an extremely low temperature. However, you can not see it with the naked eye because it is so small that you can only see it under a high magnification electron microscope. The resonator is connected to a circuit in which pairs of bound electrons circulate. A deviation in the motion of these pairs of electrons results from the action of phonons on them. This effect captures the resonator, registers it and transmits it to the system for analysis.

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Why do I need a "quantum microphone"

First, the device is required to more closely study the nature of sound waves and understand the process of phonon formation. In addition, a "quantum microphone" can produce individual phonons by changing the mode of operation. That is, it can literally be used as a generator of elementary particles (in this case, only sound particles), and unlike the Large Hadron Collider, it is not necessary to perform particle collisions at high speed. Everything happens because of the generation of smaller vibrations at the atomic level.

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This creates microscopic devices capable of storing and reproducing quantum information encoded in the parameters of elementary particles of sound (phonons). In addition, such systems can act as transducers of mechanical to optical signals and vice versa, with which future quantum computers and other elements of high-tech devices can be created.

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