A big week for quantum science! Scientists discover what an atom sounds like and make solid light! #science


While quantum physics is certainly not my specialty, two super cool studies were published this week demonstrating new phenomena in this field. The first, published in Science, examined the ‘sound’ of an atom by bouncing sound waves off an artificial atom and recording the sound that came back. A news article at Huffington Post describes the study in layman’s terms.

“According to the theory, the sound from the atom is divided into quantum particles,” study co-author Martin Gustafsson, a post-doctoral researcher at Columbia University, said in the statement. “Such a particle is the weakest sound that can be detected.”

That sound was a “D-note” about 20 octaves above the highest note on the piano, which is a pitch much higher than the human ear can detect.

Apparently, it may be possible to harness this quantal energy and apply it to the design of super-fast computers. photonic

The second article, published in Physical Review X, describes a method to turn light, or rather photons (the ‘particles’ of light), into s solid. Phys.org has a simplified explanation.

The researchers are not shining light through crystal – they are transforming light into crystal. As part of an effort to develop exotic materials such as room-temperature superconductors, the researchers have locked together , the basic element of light, so that they become fixed in place.

“It’s something that we have never seen before,” said Andrew Houck, an associate professor of electrical engineering and one of the researchers. “This is a new behavior for light.”

This technology also hopes to harness atomic energy in a new way, in this case developing materials ‘that we cannot yet create.’

While much of the actual science is over my head, these new studies are very cool!