Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Quantum microphone captures extremely weak sound

Date:
February 27, 2012
Source:
Chalmers University of Technology
Summary:
Scientists have demonstrated a new kind of detector for sound at the level of quietness of quantum mechanics. The result offers prospects of a new class of quantum hybrid circuits that mix acoustic elements with electrical ones, and may help illuminate new phenomena of quantum physics.

A "quantum microphone" based on a Single Electron Transistor (SET) detects sound waves on a chip surface, so called Surface Acoustic Waves (SAW). The waves make the charge of the atoms underneath the quantum microphon oscillate. Since the quantum microphone is an extremely sensitive charge detector, very low sound levels can be detected. (The size of the waves are exaggerated in the picture).
Credit: Philip Krantz, Chalmers

Scientists from Chalmers University of Technology have demonstrated a new kind of detector for sound at the level of quietness of quantum mechanics. The result offers prospects of a new class of quantum hybrid circuits that mix acoustic elements with electrical ones, and may help illuminate new phenomena of quantum physics.

The results have been published in Nature Physics.

The "quantum microphone" is based on a single electron transistor, that is, a transistor where the current passes one electron at a time. The acoustic waves studied by the research team propagate over the surface of a crystalline microchip, and resemble the ripples formed on a pond when a pebble is thrown into it. The wavelength of the sound is a mere 3 micrometers, but the detector is even smaller, and capable of rapidly sensing the acoustic waves as they pass by.

On the chip surface, the researchers have fabricated a three-millimeter-long echo chamber, and even though the speed of sound on the crystal is ten times higher than in air, the detector shows how sound pulses reflect back and forth between the walls of the chamber, thereby verifying the acoustic nature of the wave.

The detector is sensitive to waves with peak heights of a few percent of a proton diameter, levels so quiet that sound can be governed by quantum law rather than classical mechanics, much in the same way as light.

"The experiment is done on classical acoustic waves, but it shows that we have everything in place to begin studies of proper quantum-acoustics, and nobody has attempted that before," says Martin Gustafsson, PhD student and first author of the article.

Apart from the extreme quietness, the pitch of the waves is too high for us to hear: The frequency of almost 1 gigahertz is 21 octaves above one-lined A. The new detector is the most sensitive in the world for such high-frequency sound.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Chalmers University of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Martin V. Gustafsson, Paulo V. Santos, Gφran Johansson, Per Delsing. Local probing of propagating acoustic waves in a gigahertz echo chamber. Nature Physics, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nphys2217

Cite This Page:

Chalmers University of Technology. "Quantum microphone captures extremely weak sound." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120227093954.htm>.
Chalmers University of Technology. (2012, February 27). Quantum microphone captures extremely weak sound. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120227093954.htm
Chalmers University of Technology. "Quantum microphone captures extremely weak sound." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120227093954.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) — The Chasqui I, hand-delivered into orbit by a Russian cosmonaut, is one of hundreds of small satellites set to go up in the next few years. 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