Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Breaking the noise barrier: Enter the phonon computer: Physicists have already shown that the phonons in a row of ions can behave rather like a computer. Information can be "written" to one ion by zapping it with a laser to change its state. This also modifies the electric forces between the ions, changing the way the row vibrates. Phonons, representing the collective motion of the row, in effect share the data between the ions, allowing them to "process" it. When processing is complete, the ions can be made to release the "answer" as a photon.