Unidirectional Transition Waves in Bistable Lattices

Phys Rev Lett. 2016 Jun 17;116(24):244501. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.244501. Epub 2016 Jun 13.


We present a model system for strongly nonlinear transition waves generated in a periodic lattice of bistable members connected by magnetic links. The asymmetry of the on-site energy wells created by the bistable members produces a mechanical diode that supports only unidirectional transition wave propagation with constant wave velocity. We theoretically justify the cause of the unidirectionality of the transition wave and confirm these predictions by experiments and simulations. We further identify how the wave velocity and profile are uniquely linked to the double-well energy landscape, which serves as a blueprint for transition wave control.