Figure 1
C. Tahan/Laboratory for Physical Sciences

Strange bedfellows. White arrows depict a phonon, a quantum of vibration, in terms of the displacement of silicon atoms in a lattice. Colors show the quantum state of a “donor” electron from a phosphorus atom in terms of the probability of the electron’s presence at any point. According to a new theory, these two states couple together to form a new hybrid, the “phoniton.”