Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What is a phonon?

  1. Sep 23, 2013 #1
    We have studied elastic waves in solids, standing waves in solid, heat capacity due to oscillation modes of individual atoms in a solid etc etc. And all these are put in the chapter called phonons in my book. So what are phonons basically? Are they just any kind of wave oscillatory motion that can occur within a solid? Because surely any wave in a solid need to be standing etc etc.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2013 #2

    vanhees71

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    2016 Award

    Loosely speaking photons are "quantized sound waves", i.e., the quantum description of collective lattice vibrations of a solid. Wikipedia gives a pretty nice starting point:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonons
     
  4. Sep 23, 2013 #3

    ZapperZ

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

  5. Sep 23, 2013 #4
    They are quanta of sound waves just as photons are quanta of electromagnetic waves
     
  6. Sep 23, 2013 #5
    Phonons are bundles [quanta] of energy associated with lattice vibrations...that is, oscillations associated with the degrees of freedom in the structure of a material....

    From Zapper:
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=899393#post899393 [Broken]

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook