Vibrational encounters—phonon polaritons meet molecules

Researchers from CIC nanoGUNE BRTA (San Sebastian, Spain), in collaboration with the Donostia International Physics Center (San Sebastián, Spain) and the University of Oviedo (Spain) employed a spectroscopic nanoimaging ...

Scientists discover mechanisms behind thermoelectric material

Recently, a research group led by Prof. Zhang Yongsheng from the Institute of Solid State Physics, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science successfully explained the novel physical mechanisms behind pyrite-type ZnSe2.

Surface waves can help nanostructured devices keep their cool

Due to the continuing progress in miniaturization of silicon microelectronic and photonic devices, the cooling of device structures is increasingly challenging. Conventional heat transport in bulk materials is dominated by ...

Anti-resonant hollow-core optical fiber reduces 'noise'

A new hollow optical fiber greatly reduces the "noise" interfering with the signals it transmits compared to the single-mode fibers now widely used, researchers at the University of Rochester report.

Hammer-on technique for atomic vibrations in a crystal

Vibrations of atoms in a crystal of the semiconductor gallium arsenide (GaAs) are impulsively shifted to a higher frequency by an optically excited electric current. The related change in the spatial distribution of charge ...

New techniques improve quantum communication, entangle phonons

Quantum communication—where information is sent through particles, typically entangled photons—has the potential to become the ultimate secure communication channel. Not only is it nearly impossible to eavesdrop on quantum ...

A nice day for a quantum walk

Researchers at the Center for Quantum Information and Quantum Biology at Osaka University used trapped ions to demonstrate the spreading of vibrational quanta as part of a quantum random walk. This work relies on their exquisite ...

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In physics, a phonon is a collective excitation in a periodic, elastic arrangement of atoms or molecules in condensed matter, such as solids and some liquids. Often referred to as a quasiparticle, it represents an excited state in the quantum mechanical quantization of the modes of vibrations of elastic structures of interacting particles.

Phonons play a major role in many of the physical properties of solids, including a material's thermal and electrical conductivities. Hence the study of phonons is an important part of solid state physics.

A phonon is a quantum mechanical description of a special type of vibrational motion, in which a lattice uniformly oscillates at the same frequency. In classical mechanics this is known as the normal mode. The normal mode is important because any arbitrary lattice vibration can be considered as a superposition of these elementary vibrations (cf. Fourier analysis). While normal modes are wave-like phenomena in classical mechanics, they have particle-like properties in the wave–particle duality of quantum mechanics.

The name phonon comes from the Greek word φωνή (phonē), which translates as sound or voice because long-wavelength phonons give rise to sound.

The concept of phonons was introduced in 1932 by Russian physicist Igor Tamm.

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