Monday, June 1, 2015

The World's Smallest Violin

Not exactly, but scientists working at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology managed to record the sound of one atom striking a silicon chip.

The project is part of an attempt to develop new kinds of computers and involved some serious signal enhancement. Since sound is at its root pressure waves propagating through some medium -- usually a gas but sometimes liquids and every now and again solids -- the impact of a single atom doesn't generate much of it. Atoms are too small to generate much energy when they hit something and so the resulting pressure waves are pretty tiny themselves.

But the researchers managed to do it, with the aforementioned signal boosting and some amplification. The article at the link doesn't say what the next steps are, but I advise caution. If the researchers get hold of some non-standard amps that, say, go to 11, then we could have some serious explodey-ness on our hands, and more than the drummer would be in danger.


fillyjonk said...

I wonder if Philip Glass is already in talks with them for his next composition.

Friar said...

John Cage would have loved it.