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Researchers Create Barrier That Transmits Sound In One Direction

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The concept of sound moving in one direction only has been achieved earlier this year by researchers from Yale University.

Because of this breakthrough, all technologies that use acoustic resonators will probably get some major upgrades in the future.

The Experiment's Key To Success

Jack Harris, the study's principal investigator and a physics professor at Yale, explained that the successful result of the experiment was achieved using the elemental technology already applied to electronic devices like phones, sonogram imaging, musical instruments, and gravitational wave detectors.

"This is an experiment in which we make a one-way route for sound waves," said Harris. "By using our one-way sound trick, we can make heat flow from point A to point B, or from B to A, regardless of which one is colder or hotter. This would be like dropping an ice cube into a glass of hot water and having the ice cubes get colder and colder while the water around them gets warmer and warmer."

According to Harris, this is what happens when two acoustic resonators exchange heat, resulting in the one-way flow of sound. Because of this, the sound in the first resonator can pass or leak in the second, but the process doesn't go both ways. Through a laser setting they call a "tuning knob," a sound wave can be weakened or strengthened depending on the direction it's going.

New Possibilities With Acoustic Resonators

What could this new technology mean? To start off, sonogram imaging — a procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce visual images of organs, tissues, or blood flow inside the body — would be 10x more accurate. Acoustic resonators would keep the reflecting waves from coming back to the source, which in turn would create a more accurate image of the fetus.

Other electronic advancements are also in store with this new kind of technology. Musical instruments would get some major upgrades, as well as exhaust pipes found in cars.

The official findings of the study were already published in the journal Nature on April 4 this year.

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