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The Tiniest Ears – Quantum Microphones

Artists colorful depiction of a soundwave on black background with a light behind

We’ve heard of photons, but phonons? Apparently sound can be quantified into particles, called phonons. Physicists at Stanford University have created a quantum microphone that can detect and measure these crackly bits of sound.

The device uses supercooled, super-duper tiny resonators. These are coupled to a superconductor with electron pairs inside. This circuit forms a quantum bit, or qubit, which then vibrates and generates different phonons, which are trapped and measured.

Ok so what good is this? The hope is that this will lead to smaller and even more efficient quantum computers that work by manipulating sound instead of light. Less light means less heat, which means computers can work harder. Phonons are also waaaay smaller then phonons, so devices can be smaller and more efficient. This leads to more advances in all kinds of science and industry, and hopefully lots of perks for humanity. #BrightFuture

Read more on Stanford’s website here.

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