Spacetime representation of topological phononics

Pierre A. Deymier, Keith Runge, Pierre Lucas, Jérôme O. Vasseur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Non-conventional topology of elastic waves arises from breaking symmetry of phononic structures either intrinsically through internal resonances or extrinsically via application of external stimuli. We develop a spacetime representation based on twistor theory of an intrinsic topological elastic structure composed of a harmonic chain attached to a rigid substrate. Elastic waves in this structure obey the Klein-Gordon and Dirac equations and possesses spinorial character. We demonstrate the mapping between straight line trajectories of these elastic waves in spacetime and the twistor complex space. The twistor representation of these Dirac phonons is related to their topological and fermion-like properties. The second topological phononic structure is an extrinsic structure composed of a one-dimensional elastic medium subjected to a moving superlattice. We report an analogy between the elastic behavior of this time-dependent superlattice, the scalar quantum field theory and general relativity of two types of exotic particle excitations, namely temporal Dirac phonons and temporal ghost (tachyonic) phonons. These phonons live on separate sides of a two-dimensional frequency space and are delimited by ghost lines reminiscent of the conventional light cone. Both phonon types exhibit spinorial amplitudes that can be measured by mapping the particle behavior to the band structure of elastic waves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number053005
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Dirac phonons
  • ghost phonons
  • spacetime
  • topological phononics
  • twistor theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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