Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > A layer of tiny grains can slow sound waves: Layer of microscopic spheres offers new approach to controlling acoustic waves

Abstract:
In some ways, granular material such as a pile of sand can behave much like a crystal, with its close-packed grains mimicking the precise, orderly arrangement of crystalline atoms. Now researchers at MIT have pushed that similarity to a new limit, creating two-dimensional arrays of micrograins that can funnel acoustic waves, much as specially designed crystals can control the passage of light or other waves.

A layer of tiny grains can slow sound waves: Layer of microscopic spheres offers new approach to controlling acoustic waves

Cambridge, MA | Posted on August 6th, 2013

The researchers say the findings could lead to a new way of controlling frequencies in electronic devices such as cellphones, but with components that are only a fraction the size of those currently used for that function. On a larger scale, it could lead to new types of blast-shielding material for use in combat or by public-safety personnel or equipment.

A paper on the research appears in the journal Physical Review Letters, written by Nicholas Fang, the Brit and Alex d'Arbeloff Career Development Associate Professor in Engineering Design; Nicholas Boechler, a former MIT postdoc now at the University of Washington; and four co-authors.

Research on the properties of granular materials collections of small grains, such as sand or tiny glass beads has become "a rich and rapidly developing field," the researchers write. But most such research has focused on the properties of sand-sized particles, about a millimeter across, Fang says. The new work is the first to examine the very different properties of particles that are about one-thousandth that size, or one micrometer across, whose properties were expected to be "qualitatively different."

In their experiments, the team used a single layer of microspheres to guide and slow sound waves (known as surface acoustic waves, or SAWs) traveling across a surface, Fang says. The researchers used ideas they had previously applied in research on controlling light waves, he says, which involved the use of photonic crystals.

SAWs are widely used in electronic devices such as cellphones, Fang says, "like clocks that give a single frequency signal to synchronize different chips or parts of a chip." But with the new system, "we can shrink the device size" needed for processing SAWs, he says. Present-day oscillators for SAWs are relatively bulky, Fang says, but the use of a 2-D granular material to guide and slow the waves could allow such devices to be only one-sixth their present size, he estimates.

What's more, the 2-D nature of this system could allow it to be fabricated right on a chip, along with the necessary control circuits and other components. Today's oscillators, by contrast, are typically separate devices placed next to the chip array that controls them, Fang says so in cases where small size is important, the new work has the potential to allow for even smaller electronic devices.

The system could potentially also be used to develop new kinds of sensors, such as microbalances capable of measuring tiny changes in weight, he says.

The same principle could also lead to a new kind of blast-shielding material, Fang suggests. If acoustic waves such as the intense shock waves from an explosion hit the two-dimensional material at a right angle, much of their energy can be converted to surface waves that travel sideways out of the material. A sandwich of many layers of such material might provide substantial protection from a blast in a lightweight, wearable form, though such applications will likely require substantial further research, Fang says.

John Page, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Manitoba, says this is "a high-quality piece of research. I am sure that their findings will be widely accepted."

In addition to Fang and Boechler, the research team included graduate students Jeff Eliason and Anshuman Kumar; research fellow Alex Maznev; and professor of chemistry Keith Nelson. The work was supported by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the National Science Foundation.

Written by David Chandler, MIT News Office

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Kimberly Allen
MIT News Office

617.253.2702

Copyright © MIT

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Paper: "Interaction of a Contact Resonance of Microspheres with Surface Acoustic Waves":

Related News Press

News and information

Chemists Cook up New Nanomaterial and Imaging Method: Nanomaterials can store all kinds of things, including energy, drugs and other cargo January 19th, 2017

National Space Society Congratulates SpaceX on the Falcon 9's Return to Flight January 19th, 2017

Eric Berger Wins the National Space Society's 2017 Space Pioneer Award for Mass Media January 19th, 2017

Nanometrics to Announce Fourth Quarter and Full Year Financial Results on February 7, 2017 January 19th, 2017

Physics

Seeing the quantum future... literally: What if big data could help you see the future and prevent your mobile phone from breaking before it happened? January 16th, 2017

NIST physicists 'squeeze' light to cool microscopic drum below quantum limit January 12th, 2017

First experimental proof of a 70 year old physics theory: First observation of magnetic phase transition in 2-D materials, as predicted by the Nobel winner Onsager in 1943 January 6th, 2017

Diamonds are technologists' best friends: Researchers from the Lomonosov Moscow State University have grown needle- and thread-like diamonds and studied their useful properties December 30th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

'5-D protein fingerprinting' could give insights into Alzheimer's, Parkinson's January 19th, 2017

Strength of hair inspires new materials for body armor January 18th, 2017

Self-assembling particles brighten future of LED lighting January 18th, 2017

Nanoscale view of energy storage January 16th, 2017

Chip Technology

Nanometrics to Announce Fourth Quarter and Full Year Financial Results on February 7, 2017 January 19th, 2017

Dressing a metal in various colors: DGIST research developed a technology to coat metal with several nanometers of semiconducting materials January 17th, 2017

Seeing the quantum future... literally: What if big data could help you see the future and prevent your mobile phone from breaking before it happened? January 16th, 2017

NUS researchers achieve major breakthrough in flexible electronics: New classes of printable electrically conducting polymer materials make better electrodes for plastic electronics and advanced semiconductor devices January 14th, 2017

Discoveries

Chemists Cook up New Nanomaterial and Imaging Method: Nanomaterials can store all kinds of things, including energy, drugs and other cargo January 19th, 2017

'5-D protein fingerprinting' could give insights into Alzheimer's, Parkinson's January 19th, 2017

Strength of hair inspires new materials for body armor January 18th, 2017

Self-assembling particles brighten future of LED lighting January 18th, 2017

Announcements

Chemists Cook up New Nanomaterial and Imaging Method: Nanomaterials can store all kinds of things, including energy, drugs and other cargo January 19th, 2017

National Space Society Congratulates SpaceX on the Falcon 9's Return to Flight January 19th, 2017

Eric Berger Wins the National Space Society's 2017 Space Pioneer Award for Mass Media January 19th, 2017

Nanometrics to Announce Fourth Quarter and Full Year Financial Results on February 7, 2017 January 19th, 2017

Military

'5-D protein fingerprinting' could give insights into Alzheimer's, Parkinson's January 19th, 2017

Strength of hair inspires new materials for body armor January 18th, 2017

Self-assembling particles brighten future of LED lighting January 18th, 2017

Dressing a metal in various colors: DGIST research developed a technology to coat metal with several nanometers of semiconducting materials January 17th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project