Researchers Find Unambiguous Evidence for Coherent Phonons in Superlattices

February 10, 2014

Ramamoorthy Ramesh with the Materials Sciences Division and former Berkeley Lab ALD Arun Majumdar (now VP for Energy at Google) were co-leaders of an experiment that provided the first “unambiguous demonstration” of the coherent transport of the atomic-scale sound waves known as “phonons.” Working with superlattices of perovskite oxides, Ramesh and Majumdar with their collaborators showed that phonons can crossover from particle-like behavior to wave-like behavior just like photons. With phonon transport being a key to thermal conductivity, this demonstration opens the door to improved thermoelectric devices. It also raises the possibility of true phonon lasers. More>

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