Research NewsPhysics

Quantum Squeeze Wrings Uncertainty From Atom Waves

Science  14 Mar 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5306, pp. 1566
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5306.1566

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Quantum “noise” gets in the way of ultraprecise measurements of any physical quantity, such as a particle's location or a wave's frequency. In this issue, however, a team of physicists reports finding a way around this quantum limit for the wavelike vibrations of atoms in solids called phonons. By delivering ultrafast pulses of light to a sample of potassium tantalate, they squeezed quantum noise out of the phonons at certain times while making them noisier at others.