22 May '13, 6pm

Phonon Lasers Make a More Practical Sound

Phonon Lasers Make a More Practical Sound

Image: Dane Wirtzfeld/iStockphoto Ever since the laser saw the light of day a half century ago, researchers have been playing with the idea that something similar could be created using sound rather than light. But the concept made little headway in the ensuing decades. In 2009, the situation changed abruptly, when scientists at Caltech and the University of Nottingham, in England, using tiny drums and stacked semiconductors, respectively, employed conventional lasers to stimulate or probe the emission of a stream of “phonons”—the quasiparticles of sound—proving that phonon lasers, or “sasers,” were indeed a sound idea. Now researchers at NTT Basic Research Laboratories , in Japan, have taken a significant step forward by fabricating an entirely electromechanical resonator on a chip that also eliminates the need for the lasers that previous devices required. This advance m...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/semiconductors/optoelectronics/p...

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