What did I learn at Phononics 2015?

Firstly, Paris can get very, very hot. The last day of the conference saw record temperatures for Paris in June, which was rather fitting for a conference on phonons.

I also learnt that this Phononics conference series is going from strength to strength as this area of research continues to expand. Speaking with Bernard Bonello from the Institut des NanoSciences de Paris, CNRS and Université Pierre et Marie Curie and also one of this year’s conference Chairmen, he gave the opinion that the conference is becoming a “victim of its own success”. Between this year’s conference and Phononics 2013 the number of attendees increased by almost 50%. With this year’s numbers totalling over 220, 70 over that expected, phononic research is very popular.

Photograph of a two-dimensional cloak for pressure waves in water at ultrasound frequencies.

Photograph of a two-dimensional cloak for pressure waves in water at ultrasound frequencies. Muamer Kadic et al 2013 Rep. Prog. Phys. 76 126501.

In my previous post, Phonon fun in Paris, I talked about the 6 core areas the conference has covered since its inception in 2011. While these remain at the heart of phononic research, Bonello has noticed a real shift in the coverage of this year’s conference. There were fewer talks on phononic crystals than in previous years and he believes this is because the community has grasped the basic principles of how these operate. Instead, this year there were many more talks on metamaterials and the possible applications of phononic crystals – what can we do with them?

Two perfect examples of this came from plenary speaker Martin Wegener (KIT Institute of Applied Physics) and keynote speaker Sébastien Guenneau (Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, Institut Fresnel), who presented their work on cloaking and seismic shielding, respectively. Wegener’s work studying pentamode metamaterials has led to results in static cloaking, meaning objects which are present cannot actually be felt. Guenneau’s work meanwhile has very practical applications in shielding buildings from seismic waves and could protect vulnerable buildings from earthquakes. Currently the group have achieved cloaking of seismic waves around 50 Hz using an array of boreholes drilled into the soil and are hoping to carry out further experimental work later this year.

Not to be out done, there was also plenty of research presented on periodic structures and wave propagation, showing just how diverse this community is. With physicists, engineers and applied mathematicians all coming together, as Bonello says, the “interface between disciplines is where the most exciting research happens”. I can only agree.

CC-BY logoThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

Front thumbnail image by Moyan Brenn published under a CC BY 2.0 license.

Image used in post taken from Muamer Kadic et al 2013 Rep. Prog. Phys. 76 126501. Copyright IOP Publishing 2013.

Categories: Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, JPhys+

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2 replies


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