Published: April 13, 2022
A new collaborative research study published in Nature Electronics shows topological control capabilities in an acoustic-electronic system. This study opens the possibilities for further research into the topological properties of high-frequency sound-saving devices.
It further reveals that these capabilities could have implications for quantum information processing and 5G communications. The research uses Charlie Kane and Eugene Mele’s concepts from the field of topological materials.
A topological insulator would be one such material, as it acts as an electric insulator on the inside but conducts electricity on the outside.
The research work was a collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas, and the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.
University of Pennsylvania’s Qicheng Zhang wanted to dive deeper into topological phononic crystals. These metamaterials use acoustic waves (phonons), where topological properties exist in low frequencies.
Zhang wanted to explore whether topological phenomena could appear in higher frequencies in the gigahertz range.
The combination of expertise across different fields and trailblazing methodologies resulted in the latest findings. They first started with figuring out the best types of devices to fabricate. Then, they etched nanoscale circuits onto aluminum nitride membranes.
Lastly, they sent the devices for microwave impedance microscopy. The groundbreaking finding is that topological properties exist in high frequencies.
The researchers’ part of the project says that the findings give a starting point for developing new devices and technologies and future research into the field.
Additionally, they said the technology they’re using is already part of the new phones, but now it’s time to figure out whether there is a way to use those topological vibrations in terms of 5G.