The researchers, from Columbia University and Sweden's Chalmers University of Technology, captured the sound that a single atom makes when it moves by detecting the vibrations emanating from it. Just like you learned at school, vibrations create sound—it's just, in this case, the sound is very, very quiet indeed. So how did they do it? Well, they excited an atom, then detect its acoustic emissions using a specially made chip that converts miniscule acoustic waves into microwaves. Crucially, those microwaves are of large enough amplitude to actually be recorded—using low-temperature microwaving amplifiers—unlike their acoustic counterparts. via Gizmodo.
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