Contact the patent office!

Over coffee I and another grad student had a brilliant innovation: an electric guitar with SQUID pickups! Due to the high sensitivity and low noise of the SQUID, we expect the sound quality to be extremely good. Of course, the guitar will have to be filled with liquid nitrogen (we’re assuming high-Tc SQUIDs here) or equipped with a cryocooler. The LN2-filled guitar would have the advantage of producing plumes of fog on demand, and would be especially spectacular when smashed against the stage at the end of the show.

9 thoughts on “Contact the patent office!

  1. Lemming

    Seriously, what would it take to make this work? I don’t know much about SQUIDs, mind you… and as I understand it, they’re usually used for sensing much, much smaller variations in the field.
    An idea as ridiculous as this deserves to be taken seriously. FWIW, my brother is just now starting to experiment with crafting electric guitars — his woodshop is more than adequate, and he’s already done some experimentation cutting sample pieces and such… It’s not cheap to build a guitar, but it’s very doable.
    One of the greater engineering challenges that occurs to me right off is how to make the LN2 resevoir such that the pickups stay aligned correctly, sufficiently cooled, and the evaporating N2 can escape freely without the LN2 spilling out when you start going all Yngwie and shit.

  2. Arcane Gazebo

    Yeah, SQUIDs are normally used for measuring far smaller fields, but this is typically done with a separate pickup coil coupled into the SQUID loop with a flux transformer. Here I think one could either just eliminate the pickup coil and use the SQUID loop directly (depending on the dimensions of the SQUID and the size of the fields involved) or use an appropriate flux transformer to put it in the right range.
    The LN2 reservoir is, as you say, the tricky part. Maybe I should consult people who know about dewar design… :)

  3. Sujit

    Yeah, Craighead’s group made nano-guitars a few years back, and now Paul McEuen’s group (also at Cornell) has made a graphene drum (or so the journalist writing the latter article would have you believe – “McEuen appears to be well on the way to forming the world’s first nano rock band…”) – but I don’t think anyone’s done what you’re proposing. The important question is: what kind of guitar is it going to be? (Craighead’s group made a Fender Stratocaster).

  4. Mason

    And what’s even more relevant is that Paul McEuen looks like John Lennon (though I have heard others argue for Ringo Starr).
    I have directed other people to him at conferences that way. (“How do I find him?” Ans: “He’s the one who looks like John Lennon.”)
    McEuen is very nice. I picked his brain a couple times when working on my thesis.

  5. Arcane Gazebo

    I feel compelled to mention that the dilution fridge on which we do our qubit experiments used to belong to Paul McEuen. I’m not sure I’ve ever met him in person, though (I think he’d just left Berkeley when I arrived.)

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