Vibrations on a chip feel a magnetic field


Using light to couple the strings of a nanoscopic guitar

AMOLF physicists have made mechanical vibrations on a chip behave as if they were electrical currents flowing in a magnetic field. Because of their charge, electrons are influenced by magnetic fields, which curve their trajectories. Sound waves or more precisely the propagating mechanical vibrations don’t feel a magnetic field, because they don’t carry charge. By illuminating strings with laser light the researchers have found a way to make mechanical vibrations hop from one nanoscale string to another. Thus, these vibrations behave like electrons in a magnetic field. This unlocks new ways to manipulate sound waves and the information they can carry on chips. They publish their findings in Nature Nanotechnology on 3 February 2020.


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