Physicists split bits of sound using quantum mechanics

Quantum weirdness applies to sound as well as to light and atomic particles

An illustration of sound waves showing peaks and valleys in different colors

Sound waves (illustrated) come in tiny quantum chunks called phonons. New experiments show how phonons exhibit the same quantum weirdness shared by photons and subatomic particles.

Flavio Coelho/Moment/Getty Images

You can’t divide the indivisible, unless you use quantum mechanics. Physicists have now turned to quantum effects to split phonons, the smallest bits of sound, researchers report in the June 9 Science.