Northwestern University

Thu 2:00 PM

Professor William Irvine: Spinning top-ology: Order, disorder and topology in mechanical gyro-materials and fluids

When: Thursday, October 12, 2017
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM  

Where: Technological Institute, F160, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Tina Hoff   847.491.3645

Group: Physics and Astronomy Complex Systems Seminars

Category: Academic


Professor William Irvine, University of Chicago

Title: Spinning top-ology: Order, disorder and topology in mechanical gyro-materials and fluids

Abstract: Geometry, topology and broken symmetry often play a powerful role in determining the organization and properties of materials. A recent example is the discovery that the excitation spectra of materials -- be they electronic, optical, or mechanical -- may be topologically non-trivial. I will explore the use of `spinning tops' to explore this physics. In particular I will discuss an experimental and theoretical study of a simple kind of active meta-material – coupled gyroscopes – that naturally encodes non-trivial topology in its vibrational spectrum. These materials have topologically protected edge modes which we observe in experiment. Crucially, the geometry of the underlying lattice controls the presence of time reversal symmetry that is essential to the non-trivial topology of the spectrum. We exploit this to control the chirality of the edge modes by simply deforming the lattice. Moving beyond ordered lattices we show that amorphous gyroscopic networks are naturally topological. If time permits I will conclude with a brief foray into gyrofluids: the liquid counterpart of these topological solids.

Host: Michelle Driscoll

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