Department Colloquium: Tuesday, November 15, 2022 - Quantum acoustics: Quantum mechanics with sound

Event Date: 

Tuesday, November 15, 2022 - 3:45pm

Event Location: 

  • Broida 1640 and Zoom
  • Physics Department Colloquium

This event will be in-person and on Zoom.

Quantum acoustics: Quantum mechanics with sound

Andrew Cleland, University of Chicago

Phonons are the quantum particles of sound waves in solids, representing the collective motion of astronomical numbers of atoms. While initially, phonons served as a convenience for calculations of heat capacity, heat transport, and scattering, developments in a relatively new field termed “quantum acoustics” have shown that phonons can in fact be used as carriers of quantum information, with properties very similar to photons, the quantum particles of light. In this talk I will describe a series of experiments my group has pursued, using surface acoustic waves controlled and detected by superconducting qubits. This combination has allowed the on-demand generation, storage, and detection of individual microwave-frequency phonons in an acoustic resonator [1]; using phonons to transmit quantum states and generate quantum entanglement [2,3]; demonstrating a single-phonon interferometer and a quantum information process known as “quantum erasure” [4]; and most recently using phonons to demonstrate a fundamental quantum effect first seen with photons, the Hong-Ou-Mandel effect [5,6], which beautifully illustrates the wave-particle duality fundamental to quantum mechanics.

*This work was supported by the US AFOSR, US NSF, US ARL, US DOE.

[1] K. J. Satzinger et al., “Quantum control of surface acoustic wave phonons”, Nature 563, 661–665 (2018)

[2] A. Bienfait et al., “Phonon-mediated quantum state transfer and remote qubit entanglement”, Science 364, 368-371 (2019)

[3] E. Dumur et al., “Quantum communication with itinerant surface acoustic wave phonons”, npj Quantum Information 7, 1-5 (2021)

[4] A. Bienfait et al., “Quantum erasure using surface acoustic phonons”, Phys. Rev. X 10, 021055 (2020)

[5] C. K. Hong, Z. Y. Ou and L. Mandel, “Measurement of subpicosecond time intervals between two photons by interference,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 59, 2044-2046 (1987)

[6] H. Qiao et al., “Two-particle interference with surface acoustic phonons,” unpublished (2022)



Andrew Cleland, University of Chicago