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Nov 18, 2021

Adding Sound to Quantum Simulations: Creating a Lattice of Light and Atoms That Can Vibrate

Posted by in categories: media & arts, particle physics, quantum physics

Aiming to emulate the quantum characteristics of materials more realistically, researchers have figured out a way to create a lattice of light and atoms that can vibrate – bringing sound to an otherwise silent experiment.

When sound was first incorporated into movies in the 1920s, it opened up new possibilities for filmmakers such as music and spoken dialogue. Physicists may be on the verge of a similar revolution, thanks to a new device developed at Stanford University that promises to bring an audio dimension to previously silent quantum science experiments.

In particular, it could bring sound to a common quantum science setup known as an optical lattice, which uses a crisscrossing mesh of laser beams to arrange atoms in an orderly manner resembling a crystal. This tool is commonly used to study the fundamental characteristics of solids and other phases of matter that have repeating geometries. A shortcoming of these lattices, however, is that they are silent.

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