Sonic Landau Levels and Synthetic Gauge Fields in Mechanical Metamaterials

Abstract

Mechanical strain can lead to a synthetic gauge field that controls the dynamics of electrons in graphene sheets as well as light in photonic crystals. Here, we show how to engineer an analogous synthetic gauge field for lattice vibrations. Our approach relies on one of two strategies: shearing a honeycomb lattice of masses and springs or patterning its local material stiffness. As a result, vibrational spectra with discrete Landau levels are generated. Upon tuning the strength of the gauge field, we can control the density of states and transverse spatial confinement of sound in the metamaterial. We also show how this gauge field can be used to design waveguides in which sound propagates with robustness against disorder as a consequence of the change in topological polarization that occurs along a domain wall. By introducing dissipation, we can selectively enhance the domain-wall-bound topological sound mode, a feature that may potentially be exploited for the design of sound amplification by stimulated emission of radiation (SASER, the mechanical analogs of lasers).

Publication
Physical Review Letters