Quantum microphone can efficiently detect phonons, the sound at the atomic level.

Yet another achievement for Researchers at Stanford University who have developed a “quantum microphone” which can detect the smallest known unit of sound which transmits in the form of phonons. This can be incorporated into quantum computers to enhance their sound detection capabilities. 

Traditional microphones do not have the sensitivity to catch up with our detect the slightest amount of sound measuring few phonons. Therefore phonons in the earlier times were impossible to be captured. Due to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, the phonons do not get detected when they hit the membrane of the microphone owing to their smaller size and activity. 

Switching from detecting the sound on the membrane through indirect mechanisms to measuring sound through the minuscule resonators that act as sound mirrors, the scientists have taken a huge leap towards establishing the epitome of technical advancement in science.

Measurement of vibration of the mirror struck by the phonon with different levels of energy corresponding to the rate of vibration and intensity will reveal the amount of phonon interaction with least error.

The device has been described in the paper Nature which essentially suggests a sidestep towards the creation of new quant computers that can easily detect even the smallest amount of sound and can allow devices to encode information using sound energy which will allow saving a lot of memory on their device or most appropriately, small machine.

Right now, people are using photons to encode these states. We want to use phonons, which brings with it a lot of advantages,

Amir Safavi-Naeini

said the lead author of the paper, Amir Safavi-Naeini, an assistant professor of applied physics at Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences.

Our device is an important step toward making a ‘mechanical quantum mechanical’ computer.

Phonon Quantum computers will be more compact and efficient than the quantum devices that make use of photons, the smallest units of light since the phonons can be manipulated more easily than the photons. The quantum computers made using phonon will take small space than the photon. 

Until now, scientists have been unable to measure phonon states in engineered structures directly because the energy differences between states – in the staircase analogy, the spacing between steps – is vanishingly small.

“One phonon corresponds to an energy ten trillion times smaller than the energy required to keep a lightbulb on for one second,”

Patricio Arrangoiz-Arriola, a co-first author of the study.

said graduate student Patricio Arrangoiz-Arriola, a co-first author of the study. The research was funded by the David and Lucile Packard Fellowship, the Stanford University Terman Fellowship and the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

Source: Nature

Via: Engadget


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