Buckling-Mediated Phase Transitions in Nano-Electromechanical Phononic Waveguides

Sunphil Kim, Jonathan Bunyan, Paolo F. Ferrari, Ali Kanj, Alexander F. Vakakis, Arend M. Van Der Zande, Sameh Tawfick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Waveguides for mechanical signal transmission in the megahertz to gigahertz regimes enable on-chip phononic circuitry, which brings new capabilities complementing photonics and electronics. Lattices of coupled nano-electromechanical drumhead resonators are suitable for these waveguides due to their high Q-factor and precisely engineered band structure. Here, we show that thermally induced elastic buckling of such resonators causes a phase transition in the waveguide leading to reversible control of signal transmission. Specifically, when cooled, the lowest-frequency transmission band associated with the primary acoustic mode vanishes. Experiments show the merging of the lower and upper band gaps, such that signals remain localized at the excitation boundary. Numerical simulations show that the temperature-induced destruction of the pass band is a result of inhomogeneous elastic buckling, which disturbs the waveguide's periodicity and suppresses the wave propagation. Mechanical phase transitions in waveguides open opportunities for drastic phononic band reconfiguration in on-chip circuitry and computing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6416-6424
Number of pages9
JournalNano letters
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 11 2021


  • buckling
  • metamaterials
  • NEMS
  • nonlinearity
  • phonon
  • waveguide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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