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Definition: A phonon is a quantum of sound. It is the lowest energy, quantized state of a vibration within a lattice structure, such as those created by the atoms of matter.

The name phonon comes from the behavior of long-wavelength phonons, which give rise to sound at higher energy levels. In quantum physics, the principle of wave particle duality indicates that behavior which is normally treated as a wave (such as sound) can also be treated as a quantized particle: the phonon. The name phonon comes from the Greek word for "voice."

Phonons also represent the conduction of heat and electricity through solids, which is what makes them such an important area of study in solid state physics.

Also Known As: long-wavelength phonon,
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