noun Physics.
a quantum of sound or vibratory elastic energy, being the analogue of a photon of electromagnetic energy.

1930–35; phon- + -on1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
phonon (ˈfəʊnɒn)
physics a quantum of vibrational energy in the acoustic vibrations of a crystal lattice
[C20: from phono- + -on]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
phonon   (fō'nŏn')  Pronunciation Key 
The quantum of acoustic or vibrational energy. Phonons, like all quanta in quantum mechanics, have wavelike and particlelike properties. Phonons propagate through the vibrating material at the speed of sound in that material. Phonons are especially useful in mathematical models for calculating thermal and vibrational properties of solids.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
In quantum-mechanical terms, in fact, the phonon is not confined to either diamond.
At those temperatures, the resonator would either be completely still or possess a quantum of vibrational energy, called a phonon.
Measuring the state of the first ion injects energy into the system in the form of a phonon, a quantum of oscillation.
Once the system reached ground state, the team created a phonon, a minuscule unit of vibrating energy.
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