Surface phonons, elastic response, and conformal invariance in twisted kagome lattices


Model lattices consisting of balls connected by central-force springs provide much of our understanding of mechanical response and phonon structure of real materials. Their stability depends critically on their coordination number z. d-dimensional lattices with z = 2d are at the threshold of mechanical stability and are isostatic. Lattices with z < 2d exhibit zero-frequency “floppy” modes that provide avenues for lattice collapse. The physics of systems as diverse as architectural structures, network glasses, randomly packed spheres, and biopolymer networks is strongly influenced by a nearby isostatic lattice. We explore elasticity and phonons of a special class of two-dimensional isostatic lattices constructed by distorting the kagome lattice. We show that the phonon structure of these lattices, characterized by vanishing bulk moduli and thus negative Poisson ratios (equivalently, auxetic elasticity), depends sensitively on boundary conditions and on the nature of the kagome distortions. We construct lattices that under free boundary conditions exhibit surface floppy modes only or a combination of both surface and bulk floppy modes; and we show that bulk floppy modes present under free boundary conditions are also present under periodic boundary conditions but that surface modes are not. In the long-wavelength limit, the elastic theory of all these lattices is a conformally invariant field theory with holographic properties (characteristics of the bulk are encoded on the sample boundary), and the surface waves are Rayleigh waves. We discuss our results in relation to recent work on jammed systems. Our results highlight the importance of network architecture in determining floppy-mode structure.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America