The concept all begins with a granular system comprising a chain of equal-sized particles -- spheres, for instance -- that touch one another.
In a paper in Physical Review E this June, UB theoretical physicist Surajit Sen and colleagues describe how altering the shape of grain-to-grain contact areas between the particles dramatically changes how energy propagates through the system.
Under "normal" circumstances, when the particles are perfect spheres, exerting force on the first sphere in the chain causes energy to travel through the spheres as a compact bundle of energy between 3 to 5 particle diameters wide, at a rate set by Hertz's Law.
But Sen and his collaborators have discovered that by altering the shape of the surface area of each particle where it presses against the next, it is possible to change how the energy moves. While this finding is yet to be demonstrated experimentally, Sen said that "mathematically, it's correct. We have proven it."
"What this work means is that by tweaking force propagation from one grain to another, we can potentially channel energy in controllable ways, which includes slowing down how energy moves, varying the space across which it moves and potentially even holding some of it down," said Sen, a professor of physics whose partners on the project included former graduate student Diankang Sun, now of New Mexico Resonance in Albuquerque, and Chiara Daraio, a professor at the California Institute of Technology.
"What we have managed to accomplish is we have broadened Hertz's theory with some extremely simple modifications," Sen said. "If I hit one end of the chain of particles, the perturbation will travel as an energy bundle. Now we can tune and control that energy." This modification to Heinrich Hertz's theory comes 130 years after Hertz's work was published, Sen said.
While the Physical Review E paper describes a granular, mechanical system, Sen believes the mathematical framework his team developed could be realized using electrical circuit systems as well. One practical application he foresees from such technology: "We could have chips that take energy from road vibrations, runway noise from airports -- energy that we are not able to make use of very well -- and convert it into pulses, packets of electrical energy, that become useful power."
"You give me noise," Sen said, "I give you organized bundles."
The study was supported by the Army Research Office and National Science Foundation.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.
Charlotte Hsu | EurekAlert!
From Hannover around the world and to the Mars: LZH delivers laser for ExoMars 2020
21.11.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.
Taking a spin on plasma space tornadoes with NASA observations
20.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences
20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences
20.11.2017 | Life Sciences