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Nus in Quest to Create Next-Generation 'quantum Music'

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Andrew Garner (seated) and Vlatko Vedral with a computer and keyboard set-up that translates quantum effects into musical sounds.

A large-scale project on "quantum music" involves composers, physicists, acousticians, and scholars in music and bioinformatics making music from the vibrations of atoms.

Credit: Aziz Hussin/The Straits Times

High-frequency vibrations produced by cooled atoms can be translated into musical sounds audible to humans, as shown by a large-scale project funded by the European Union's Creative Europe grant.

The National University of Singapore's (NUS) Center for Quantum Technologies (CQT) sourced the quantum music from atoms of rubidium, sodium, and other elements cooled to extremely low temperatures, at which point the atoms vibrate at frequencies exceeding 50 MHz. These frequencies are above the audible range for humans, but CQT researcher Andrew Garner developed software to translate the vibrations into the audible frequency range.

The cooling experiments and the computational translations of the data currently must be done separately, but the CQT's goal is to create the music in real time.

The project's researchers are looking toward the methodology of CQT professor Alexander Ling, who used photons of light to generate noise-resistant quantum effects, for inspiration. Ling was able to drastically shrink the rig to a weight of 100 grams, and eventually the researchers want to hold a concert for the Singapore public featuring the quantum music.

"The intermingling of ideas from art and science is necessary in the modern world," says Santha Bhaskar, an artistic director at NUS Center for the Arts.

From The Straits Times
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