IGM Colloquium: Topological Mechanics

© 2018 EPFL

© 2018 EPFL

The elastic properties of materials are determined by a few material constants such as the Young’s modulus.

Using super-structures one can effectively change these “constants”. In this way we obtain functionalities such as wave-guiding, acoustic lensing or programmable failure. I will show how topological band theory, known from the description of electrons in solids, provides us with a powerful design-principle for such mechanical metamaterials. Moreover, mechanical metamaterials offer a powerful platform for the study of fundamentally new phenomena that are hard to observe in other arenas. Here, I will highlight the first measurement of a quadrupole topological insulator in a silicon based metamaterial and the implementation of an axial gauge field in an acoustic Weyl system.

Sebastian is an Assistant Professor at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at ETH Zurich. After a Diploma and PhD in physics at ETH Zurich he moved to the Weizmann Institute of Science for a Postdoc after which he came back to Switzerland with the help of an SNSF Professorship. Last year, Sebastian Huber won an ERC consolidator grant on the topic of topological mechanical metamaterials, a field which tries to bridge recent advances in theoretical quantum condensed matter physics and materials design.

Topological Mechanics