acoustic transmission of data

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Harvard researchers have achieved a milestone with exciting applications in classical and quantum computing. For the first time they have controlled and modulated acoustic waves using an electric field on a chip. The achievement, recognize its authors, opens a panorama full of possibilities.

“acoustic waves they are promising as on-chip information carriers for both quantum and classical information processing; but the development of acoustic integrated circuits has been hampered by the inability to control waves in a scalable and low-loss way.” Marko Loncar explainsteacher at the A. Paulson School.

With their work they have shown the possibility of controlling acoustic waves in an integrated lithium niobate platform. And that, they stress, “brings us a little closer to an integrated acoustic circuit”.

Slower, but not worse

The key to his experiment lies in the unique properties of the lithium niobatewhich Loncar and his colleagues at the US institution took advantage of to build an electroacoustic modulator on the chip and control sound waves that spread. By applying an electric field, it is thus able to handle aspects such as the phase, amplitude or frequency of sound waves.

“Previous acoustic devices were passive, but now we have the electrical modulation to actively tune them, which enables capabilities in future development of microwave signal processing using these types of devices,” Linbo Shao Aboundsauthor of article of Nature Electronics in which the Harvard team details their experiments and results.

The researchers’ goal now is to go a step further and assemble more complex acoustic wave circuits, on a large scale and interconnections with other quantum systems.

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“Our work paves the way for high-performance acoustic wave-based devices and circuits for next-generation microwave signal processing, as well as quantum-on-chip networks and interfaces that connect different types of quantum systems, including atomic systems. solid state and superconducting qubits reflects Shao.

Acoustic waves are slower than electromagnetic waves of the same frequency, but that —Harvard researchers emphasize— does not necessarily have to be a problem. Short acoustic waves, for example, are easy to confine in nanoscale structures and exhibit strong interactions with the system, which makes them useful in computation.

Typically, classic computer chips transmit and process data through modulation of electrons, using transistors to encode the data. In the case of photonic chips, they in turn modulate the photons. The sound wave one works in a more similar way to the latter, although offering some extra advantages due to its special characteristics.

Cover Image | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS)

Harvard researchers have achieved a milestone with exciting applications in classical and quantum computing. For the first time they have…

Harvard researchers have achieved a milestone with exciting applications in classical and quantum computing. For the first time they have…

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