phonon

noun
pho·​non | \ ˈfō-ˌnän How to pronounce phonon (audio) \

Definition of phonon

: a quantum of vibrational energy (as in a crystal)

Examples of phonon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web When a group of atomic nuclei vibrate, their collective excitation is instead called a phonon. Daniel Garisto, Scientific American, "Direct Proof of Dark Matter May Lurk at Low-Energy Frontiers," 9 June 2020 So to achieve superconductivity, electrons need to easily generate and absorb phonons. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Hydride predicted to be superconductive at room temperature," 6 Sep. 2019 Until recently, scientists lacked this ability; just detecting an individual phonon destroyed it. Leila Sloman, Scientific American, "Trapping the Tiniest Sound," 30 Aug. 2019 Another major source of phonons, collisions with air molecules, was reduced by pulling a vacuum. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Levitating sand escapes classical world, enters quantum ground state," 31 Jan. 2020 The bead can hold units of vibrational energy called phonons, which behave somewhat analogously to photons. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Levitating sand escapes classical world, enters quantum ground state," 31 Jan. 2020 Here on Earth, heat flow is often more intimate, taking place via direct contact between materials and helped along by the wavelike collective vibrations of atoms known as phonons. Charles Q. Choi, Scientific American, "Space Heater: Scientists Find New Way to Transfer Energy Through a Vacuum," 11 Dec. 2019 Early methods involved converting phonons to electricity in quantum circuits called superconducting qubits. Leila Sloman, Scientific American, "Trapping the Tiniest Sound," 30 Aug. 2019 These phonons create feedback in the form of tiny acoustic waves, which in turn interrupt the original light waves. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "How Scattering Light Could Power a Microchip Revolution," 20 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'phonon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of phonon

1932, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for phonon

phon- + -on entry 2

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Time Traveler for phonon

Time Traveler

The first known use of phonon was in 1932

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Statistics for phonon

Last Updated

17 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Phonon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phonon. Accessed 5 Aug. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on phonon

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about phonon

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