A report from Nature illustrates the use of a sound based laser beam to transform the frequency of a nano-particle. Applications include information and security technology.
Phonons are a quantum or “point” of sound energy. In other words – a way of describing sound as you would a particle, such as with a photon – the quantum of light, instead of a wave. In this experiment they measured how much a nanoparticle vibrated under the influence of their acoustic laser beam.
The phonon laser beam is unique in that it can adjust to it’s own target by integrating vibrational feedback in real time. Using this technique researchers were able to vibrate the nanoparticle in perfect symphony with the frequency of their device.
Mishkat Bhattacharya, associate professor of physics at RIT and a theoretical quantum optics researcher was quoted saying. “The mechanical vibrations become intense and fall into perfect sync, just like the electromagnetic waves emerging from an optical laser.”
The total output of light from an ordinary optical laser is controlled by the piezoelectric material from which it emerges- In the case of a phonon laser however, the role is reversed. Now the frequency of matter, in this case- a nanoparticle, can be controlled by the frequency of an acoustic wave emitted from the ‘speaker’
“We are very excited to see what the uses of this device are going to be — especially for sensing and information processing given that the optical laser has so many, and still evolving, applications,” said Bhattacharya
Optical laser beams are used for security and information processing due to their speed and sensitivity. The same could be accomplished with a phonon laser beam infrastructure
In the case of security for example – an acoustic laser beam might behave much in the same way as it’s light based counterpart the only difference being that a potential intruder would be interrupting a narrow, concentrated wave of sound rather than light. Otherwise the underlying principle of continuity breaking will behave in much the same manner.
As far as exploiting sound for information technology? In the future for example, we could possibly alter the vibration of matter using sound – allowing the programmer to encode bits of data at a much smaller scale then currently possibly. A term referred to in the industry as “miniaturization. Of course we all witness that phenomena every year our phones get smaller and thinner.
That was all accomplished using silicon based microchips, what if we could store data at an even smaller microscopic level? Encrypting information in to the vibrating wavelength of a nano-particle for example?
Much in the same manner, engineers have figured out how to beam sound directly in to ears of a passerby.
Sound technology appears to be an emerging research trend. We recently discovered how to remove a tumor using sound, as well as how to levitate multiple objects simultaneously, which could lead to even better surgical interventions. Scientists even used sound to improve contaminate detection in water.
Cover photo: Kavli Nanoscience Institute