This revolutionary chip uses sound waves instead of electrons

This very interesting proof of concept can make a lot of noise in the small world of quantum computing.

Researchers at the prestigious Harvard University have unveiled a unique computer chip. Unlike conventional circuits, where information is transmitted thanks to an electric current, this machine operates on completely different physical grounds; The information is already transmitted there by sound waves.

This concept is surprising, since this discipline now appears to be inseparable from this process based on the transfer of electric charge. However, the conceptual underpinnings of this technology as defined by founding father Alan Turing are completely independent of electricity.

The computer does not necessarily depend on electricity

More than transfer mode, what is important in building a computer is a file Logic. To get this title, a device must be able to information retention and deal with them through A series of operations based on instructions given by the user.

As long as these conditions are met, It does not matter the exact nature of the support and information carriers. It is possible to process this information by changing the state of the transistor with an electric charge, as in the device about which you are reading this article. But they can also be tacky bits of wood that are cranked!

In this case, these are sound waves. And if Harvard researchers take the trouble to explore this seemingly elusive concept at first glance, it’s not just the fun of producing something extraordinary. This acoustic wave-based approach has confirmation Big advantages.

Sound waves, a very promising carrier of information

Electricity is an enormous carrier of information. But he also tends to do whatever he wants. It can easily take the wrong path if given the opportunity, for example during a short circuit. This requires manufacturers to take a full set of precautions when designing these circuits to prevent current from traveling in a chaotic manner.

On the other hand, sound waves are much more than that.” It is easy to limit it to nanostructures In addition, they also have the advantage of very little interaction with each other, which makes it possible to significantly reduce parasitic signals. Arguments that offer some potential for this technology in traditional computing, especially in the aspect of quantum computers.

Unfortunately, the progress of this approach has stalled in its tracks due to some technological shortcomings. So far, no one has succeeded in producing a system capable of exercising sufficiently good control of sound waves. This lack of precision closed the door to the production of a complete computer system based on this concept.

At the chip scale, sound waves are a very promising information carrier ,” explains Marco Loncar, lead author of the study. However, he also mentions the following: Its development has been undermined by the inability to control sound waves in a stretchable and lossless manner “.

These sound systems could do wonders for quantum computers of the future. Here, IBM’s Q System One, the first circuit-based quantum computer. © IBM Research

Great potential, especially in quantum computing

That’s why, until now, researchers have built only sonic chips negative It was impossible to control it. But this new business seems to have broken that lock once and for all. ” Our work shows that we can control these sound waves […]which brings us closer to the first integrated audio circuit ‘ Lonkar says with relief.

To achieve this, imagine an audio modulator that generates an electric field. The latter makes it possible to direct the sound wave by precisely controlling all its properties, that is, its phase, frequency and amplitude. This makes it possible to perform the logical operations that are the basis of the work of computers.

So the proof of concept is in place. Now the researchers will deal with the next step. They will try to build a file A more complex and extensive audio system capable of communicating with other instruments, Including quantum computers.

So it will be interesting to see to what extent these sonic chips, as well as other exotic technologies based on comparable concepts such as optical chips, will make it possible to accelerate the development of quantum computing.

The study text is available here.

Leave a Comment