You won’t be listening to YouTube videos of the sound, but scientists have recorded the sound of a single atom. Researchers from Columbia University teamed up with scientists from Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology to capture the sound.
The results, published in Science, were caught from a moving atom. Researchers recorded the vibrations emanating from the atom as it moved. We all know that vibrations create sound, but in this case it is extremely quiet.
How quiet? Scientists say it is the weakest physical sound possible at that frequency. Co-author of the research, Göran Johansson talked to Vice’s Motherboard about the discovery.
“The sound amplitude, or strength, is very weak. Basically, when you excite the atom, it creates a sound, one phonon at a time, according to theory. It’s the weakest possible sound possible at the frequency [that it vibrates].”
The team used low-temperature microwaving amplifiers to record the sound. You’re probably asking why? The short answer is because they could do it. It also opens up the quantum sound for further study. Sound is much slower than light, so using it to study our quantum world makes sense.
Granted, your set of Beats isn’t going to cut it for the world of quantum sound research. Read the full study over at Science.