top of page
  • Shaswata Chowdhury

The Birth of the first Topological Acoustic Transistor

The history of the computer is a fascinating topic, filled with a myriad of different technologies and various implementations that each catered to a different imagining of what a computer ought to be, marking shifts in different eras of computing. One might perhaps think of wide changes, such as the division between TUIs and GUIs, or of the modern transition away from local computing to cloud-based computing. But one of the largest shifts in the history of computers would have been the shift from analog to digital computers - away from storing data in their original forms as magnetic fields, or dial positions, to representations as various combinations of electric signals. Another paradigm shift like this may soon occur: as researchers simulate the first acoustic transistors, we may see the birth of sound-based computers.

Some background: Various research teams, such as Harvard professor Jenny Hoffman’s, have been interested in topological materials for a while now as potential materials for the building of high-efficiency, near-lossless electronics.(Topological materials are capable of moving electrons across their surfaces without loss). However, the on-off nature of transistors are difficult to implement without loss, an issue that we’ve struggled with for a while now. As a workaround, Hoffman’s research team has simulated an alternative to the intricate mechanisms that are required due to the quantum mechanical properties behind topological electronic transistors: topological acoustic transistors.

Since sound-waves are exactly solvable, they are a lot easier to get into a topological state than electrical components. In this case, this can potentially be achieved through the simulation of a waveguide that turns on when heated, and off when cooled, according to Harris Pirie. The heat could manipulate the topology of the waveguide, enabling it to link adjacent waveguides. Voila, transistors.

You can read more about this news at

The research team’s journal publication can be found at the following link, which details more about the intricate functionings of the topological acoustic transistor simulations.

3 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page