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For the First Time, Scientists Capture the Sound of an Atom

artificial atom

Image credit: Philip Krantz, Krantz NanoArt. An artificial atom (right) generates sound waves consisting of a stream of quantum particles picked up on the left by a “microphone” of metal fingers.Illustration not to scale.

According to Martin Gustafasson , the lead author of a new paper published in Science, the scientists not used an “artificial atom” to do extraordinary things with light, but also captured “the weakest sound of it to create a tool in order to examine the quantum behavior.

It is believed that an artificial atom made of some material could act electronically like a single atom. Being formed from millions of billions of atoms, it possess atomic trait of absorbing certain quantities of energy so as to give off the energy as light.

In the July edition of Physical Review A, the scientists reported that   with an important character, atoms were quite smaller than the wavelength of optical light, thus allowing them look like a point. For the purpose of gaining the same effect with formations made from multiple atoms, scientists should apply the longer wavelengths of microwave radiation.

At present, researchers were examining the probability of using sound waves rather than the electromagnetic spectrum and try to find out the result if the atoms were connected with artificial atoms.

It was surprisingly made realistic by scientists not long ago that with a superconducting artificial atom with length of 0.01mm were coupled to phonons, or “quanta of vibrations, which were regarded as the smallest units of sound waves ever possible. What they were doing was to identify the similarities between phonons and photons so as to find the new opportunities for getting the unique features of quantum mechanical sound.

As Gustafsson from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden said, owing to the slow speed of sound, his team would have time to control the quantum particles while they travel while they had difficulties in gaining with light, because light traveled 100,000 times more rapidly.

Per Delsing, the co-author of the paper added that they had opened a novel path towards the quantum world by the means of talking and listening to atoms, but if they wanted to converse with the building blocks of matter, they needed a squeaky voice. By doing so, they resorted to a frequency of 4.8GHz, which were 20 octaves above the highest note on a piano.

It was hoped by the team hope that they would apply this new information in order to understand which is the better way to control quantum behavior better, such as the quest for electrical circuits, then move on to computers that would be operated based on quantum principles.

In their conclusion, scientists said that the low propagation speed of phonons should allow new dynamic approaches to processing quantum information and the short wavelength would enable regimes of atomic physics to obtain what they could not achieve in photonic systems.

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