Using Sound to Control Information

Computer circuits use pulses of electromagnetic energy to create readable states that can represent information in small pieces. Phonons are pulses of sound vibration that can interact with both matter and electromagnetic energy. Learning to control phonons with precision may enable phonon based computing.

How To Build A Phononic Computer [technologyreview.com]

Phonons are quantum vibrations that travel through the lattice that makes up materials, much in the same way that sound passes through the air. Usually they are messy and incoherent things that we see as heat and noise, things that we usually want to minimise or remove entirely.

But in recent years, physicists have begun to examine ways to create phonons intentionally, to trap them and make them coherent.

That’s given them a number of interesting ideas. Since vibration is essentially heat, this kind of control has led to various innovative cooling mechanisms on the nanoscopic scale. And since any quantum object can also carry quantum information, various physicists are thinking about ways of using phonons for quantum computation.

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