Manipulation of Dirac Cones in Mechanical Graphene

Sci Rep. 2015 Dec 15;5:18107. doi: 10.1038/srep18107.


Recently, quantum Hall state analogs in classical mechanics attract much attention from topological points of view. Topology is not only for mathematicians but also quite useful in a quantum world. Further it even governs the Newton's law of motion. One of the advantages of classical systems over solid state materials is its clear controllability. Here we investigate mechanical graphene, which is a spring-mass model with the honeycomb structure as a typical mechanical model with nontrivial topological phenomena. The vibration spectrum of mechanical graphene is characterized by Dirac cones serving as sources of topological nontriviality. We find that the spectrum has dramatic dependence on the spring tension at equilibrium as a natural control parameter, i.e., creation and annihilation of the Dirac particles are realized as the tension increases. Just by rotating the system, the manipulated Dirac particles lead to topological transition, i.e., a jump of the "Chern number" occurs associated with flipping of propagating direction of chiral edge modes. This is a bulk-edge correspondence governed by the Newton's law. A simple observation that in-gap edge modes exist only at the fixed boundary, but not at the free one, is attributed to the symmetry protection of topological phases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't