Gizmorama - April 9, 2018
Lasers are being used to trap and contain sound waves inside of a uniquely designed crystalline solids. Is this the future of processing and storing information?
Learn about this and more interesting stories from the scientific community in today's issue.
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*- Laser beam traps long-lived sound waves in crystalline solids -*
In a series of experiments, scientists at Northern Arizona University used a laser beam to propagate, trap and later access long-lived sound waves inside specially designed crystalline solids.
Researchers believe the so-called bulk crystalline optomechanical systems could be used for information processing and storage.
When an intense laser beam passes through a transparent medium, both sound waves and new colors of light are produced through an effect called Brillouin scattering.
"Within specially designed pristine crystalline systems at very low temperatures, Brillouin scattering can produce sound waves that persist very long times, much longer than at room temperature," physicist Ryan Behunin said in a news release. "This phenomenon is intriguing because the longer a sound wave lives, the more useful it can be for things such as precision sensors -- or for use with quantum computers, systems that can achieve exponential speeds over your desktop computer for certain types of calculations."
Many everyday technologies, including mobile phones and global positioning systems, already use sound waves, but researchers believe their latest breakthrough -- described in the journal Nature Physics -- could help scientists adopt acoustic technologies for use in the field of quantum computing.
The coupling of light and sound inside specially designed crystals could power the components of quantum systems.
"We're very excited about the prospects for this work," Behunin said. "In the future we hope this system will enable searches for new physics, unique forms of precision sensing and novel approaches to quantum information processing."
*- Lockheed Martin to build quieter supersonic aircraft for NASA -*
NASA has chosen Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company to design, build and test a quieter supersonic aircraft. The Low-Boom Flight Demonstration contract is valued at $247.5 million.
As contract winner, Lockheed Martin is tasked with building the Low-Boom Flight Demonstration X-plane, an experimental airplane that will reach supersonic speeds but not trigger a supersonic boom. Instead, the quieter supersonic jet will produce a "thump." The name for LBFD technology is Quiet Supersonic Technology, or QueSST.
According to NASA, the X-plane will cruise at an altitude 55,000 feet and a speed of roughly 940 miles per hour -- and "create a sound about as loud as a car door closing."
Lockheed was the favorite to win the LBFD contract, as the company had previously worked with NASA to produce a preliminary design for the X-plane. The aerospace company also recently put out ads for several new LBFD-related jobs.
NASA hopes the LBFD project will pave the way for the introduction of supersonic jets to the airline industry.
"Commercial supersonic flight represents a potentially large new market for aircraft manufacturers and operators world-wide," NASA wrote in an LBFD status report.
Lockheed is expected to hand over the X-plane model in 2021. Beginning in 2022, NASA will conduct several more flight tests.
"The Flight Demonstration will culminate in a series of campaigns in which the QueSST aircraft will be flown over communities," NASA wrote in a paper. "Surveys will be conducted to develop a database of public response to the sounds."
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