from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The quantum of acoustic or vibrational energy, considered a discrete particle and used especially in mathematical models to calculate thermal and vibrational properties of solids.

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  • n. The quantum of acoustic or vibrational energy (sound), considered a discrete particle rather than a wave.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek φωνή (phōnḗ, "sound") + -on. Modelled after photon.


  • The phonon is a particle used in quantum mechanics to describe the propagation of sound in a crystal matrix.

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  • The connection between energy and wavelength in, for example, crystal oscillations, termed the phonon dispersion relation, is a complicated function.

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  • And, because the phonon and reddened photon are generated together, they share their quantum state-that is, the phonon and the photon are entangled.

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  • Laser pulses were used to put the two diamonds into a state where they were entangled with one another through a shared vibration known as a phonon.

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  • In crystals this source is a phonon, which is a bundle of energy resulting from vibrations in the crystal's lattice and which has a large momentum.

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  • That's possible because phonons have a wavelength which is similar in size to a DNA helix and this allows standing waves to form, a phenomenon known as phonon trapping.

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  • In a sense, then, "phonon" is just a fancy word for a particle of heat.

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  • A similar kind of phonon trapping is known to cause problems in silicon structures of the same size.

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  • "Using the word 'phonon' emphasizes the quantum nature of the process," Mendonca said. - latest science and technology news stories

  • This tunable phonon-exciton system could allow novel applications such as phonon lasers.

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  • "The concept of phonons was introduced in 1932 by Russian physicist Igor Tamm. The name phonon comes from the Greek word φωνή (phonē), which translates as sound or voice because long-wavelength phonons give rise to sound."


    April 29, 2013

  • Mode of vibration occurring in a rigid crystal lattice, such as the atomic lattice of a solid. The study of phonons is an important part of solid state physics. See also: roton.

    January 21, 2009