Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Shifting Sound To Light May Lead To Better Computer Chips

Date:
March 23, 2009
Source:
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Summary:
By reversing a process that converts electrical signals into sounds heard out of a cell phone, researchers may have a new tool to enhance the way computer chips, LEDs and transistors are built.

A plasma is generated by a laser pulse similar to how sound is converted to light.
Credit: Image courtesy of DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

By reversing a process that converts electrical signals into sounds heard out of a cell phone, researchers may have a new tool to enhance the way computer chips, LEDs and transistors are built.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have for the first time converted the highest frequency sounds into light by reversing a process that converts electrical signals to sound.

Commonly used piezo-electric speakers, such as those found in a cell phone, operate at low frequencies that human ears can hear.

But by reversing that process, lead researchers Michael Armstrong, Evan Reed and Mike Howard, LLNL colleagues, and collaborators from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Nitronex Corp., used a very high frequency sound wave - about 100 million times higher frequency than what humans can hear - to generate light.

“This process allows us to very accurately ‘see’ the highest frequency sound waves by translating them into light,” Armstrong said.

The research appears in the March 15 edition of the journal Nature Physics.

During the last decade, pioneering experiments using sub-picosecond lasers have demonstrated the generation and detection of acoustic and shock waves in materials with terahertz (THz) frequencies. These very same experiments led to a new technique for probing the structure of semiconductor devices.

However, the recent research takes those initial experiments a step further by reversing the process, converting high-frequency sound waves into electricity. The researchers predicted that high frequency acoustic waves can be detected by seeing radiation emitted when the acoustic wave passes an interface between piezoelectric materials.

Very high-frequency sound waves have wavelengths approaching the atomic-length scale. Detection of these waves is challenging, but they are useful for probing materials on very small length scales.

But that’s not the only application, according to Reed.

“This technique provides a new pathway to generation of THz radiation for security, medical and other purposes,” he said. “In this application, we would utilize acoustic-based technologies to generate THz.” Security applications include explosives detection and medical use may include detection of skin cancer.

And the Livermore method doesn’t require any external source to detect the acoustic waves.

“Usually scientists use an external laser beam that bounces off the acoustic wave – much like radar speed detectors – to observe high frequency sound. An advantage of our technique is that it doesn’t require an external laser beam – the acoustic wave itself emits light that we detect,” Armstrong said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michael R. Armstrong, Evan J. Reed, Ki-Yong Kim, James H. Glownia, William M. Howard, Edwin L. Piner & John C. Roberts. Observation of terahertz radiation coherently generated by acoustic waves. Nature Physics, 2009; DOI: 10.1038/nphys1219

Cite This Page:

DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. "Shifting Sound To Light May Lead To Better Computer Chips." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090316142436.htm>.
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. (2009, March 23). Shifting Sound To Light May Lead To Better Computer Chips. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090316142436.htm
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. "Shifting Sound To Light May Lead To Better Computer Chips." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090316142436.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) An electric car that proponents hope will replace horse-drawn carriages in New York City has also been revealed at the auto show. (Apr. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

AFP (Apr. 17, 2014) It walks and runs, even up and down stairs. It can open a bottle and serve a drink, and politely tries to shake hands with a stranger. Meet the latest ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) German researchers have used a fake fingerprint made from glue to bypass the fingerprint security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins