Convert sound to light, get better computer chips

March 23rd, 2009 - 6:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 23 (IANS) By reversing a process of converting electrical signals into sounds, researchers may have a new tool to enhance the way computer chips, LEDs and transistors are built.

Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) scientists have for the first time converted the highest frequency sounds into light by reversing a process that converts electrical signals to sound.

Commonly used piezo-electric speakers, such as those found in a cell phone, operate at low frequencies that human ears can hear.

Reversing that process, researchers Michael Armstrong, Evan Reed and Mike Howard, LLNL colleagues, and collaborators from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Nitronex Corp., used a very high frequency sound wave - about 100 million times higher frequency than what humans can hear - to generate light.

“This process allows us to very accurately ’see’ the highest frequency sound waves by translating them into light,” Armstrong said, according to an LLNL release.

The research appeared in the March 15 edition of Nature Physics.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Sci-Tech |