How sound travels through disordered materials

Categorie(s) : News, Research

Published : 30 November 2014

Researchers from INAC and LiPhy (a CNRS-Grenoble University Joseph Fourier School joint research unit) joined forces to look at how sound travels through disordered materials, with scenarios ranging from perfect crystal to amorphous materials. The simulation-based study, funded by the Fondation Nanosciences, showed that the propagation of sound waves is disrupted by defects just nanometers in size whose mechanical response differs from that of the material as a whole. And more defects mean that vibration-induced excited states have a harder time traveling through the material.
Interestingly, the findings also apply to heat transfer, a discovery that could help in the design of better thermoelectric materials. The symmetry and order of the materials’ nanostructure could be optimized to more efficiently carry electricity while minimizing the transfer of heat.


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