Exploring novel quanta of vibrational energy in realistic materials
Vibrating atoms and molecules generate heat that can be quantified as phonons, units or quanta of vibrational mechanical energy created by oscillating atoms within a crystal – similar to particles of heat. Phonons in specialised protected states, also called topological states, could give rise to exotic phenomena potentially applicable to phonon-based logic and renewable energy technologies. However, to date, these specialised phonons have almost only been studied in artificial crystalline materials. With the support of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the TOPHONICALS project is combining theory and experiment to achieve these specialised states in realistic materials that can be used to engineer novel thermal devices.