phonon 350Did you know that sound waves have magnetic properties?

Using the Oakley supercomputer and a very small, frozen tuning fork, Joseph Heremans is rewriting our science textbooks. His computational research team has discovered that phonons — sound and heat particles — yield to magnetic fields.

Ohio State University researchers recently demonstrated this fact and performed calculations at the Ohio Supercomputing Center (OSC) identifying the physical origins of the effect.

This discovery is the product of a collaboration between Joseph Heremans, Ohio eminent scholar in nanotechnology and professor of mechanical engineering, Wolfgang Windl, professor of materials science and engineering, and Roberto Myers, associate professor of materials science and engineering and electrical and computer engineering.

Physicists have long known the molecular principles behind sound: Essentially, it is the vibration of atoms carried through a medium. Heat is the storage of energy in those vibrations. Scientists conceive of sound and heat much like light — as both a particle and a wave. Light particles are called photons; sound and heat particles are known as phonons.

Though he cautioned against expecting rapid application in the near future, Heremans suspects the ability to control heat and sound waves magnetically could have an impact on energy production in the future.

Full article by Lance Farrell is the US desk editor for iSGTW