“Fuzzy Band Gaps”: A Physically Motivated Indicator of Bloch Wave Evanescence in Phononic Systems

Connor D. Pierce, Kathryn H. Matlack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Phononic crystals (PCs) have been widely reported to exhibit band gaps, which for non-dissipative systems are well defined from the dispersion relation as a frequency range in which no propagating (i.e., non-decaying) wave modes exist. However, the notion of a band gap is less clear in dissipative systems, as all wave modes exhibit attenuation. Various measures have been proposed to quantify the “evanescence” of frequency ranges and/or wave propagation directions, but these measures are not based on measurable physical quantities. Furthermore, in finite systems created by truncating a PC, wave propagation is strongly attenuated but not completely forbidden, and a quantitative measure that predicts wave transmission in a finite PC from the infinite dispersion relation is elusive. In this paper, we propose an “evanescence indicator” for PCs with 1D periodicity that relates the decay component of the Bloch wavevector to the transmitted wave amplitude through a finite PC. When plotted over a frequency range of interest, this indicator reveals frequency regions of strongly attenuated wave propagation, which are dubbed “fuzzy band gaps” due to the smooth (rather than abrupt) transition between evanescent and propagating wave characteristics. The indicator is capable of identifying polarized fuzzy band gaps, including fuzzy band gaps which exists with respect to “hybrid” polarizations which consist of multiple simultaneous polarizations. We validate the indicator using simulations and experiments of wave transmission through highly viscoelastic and finite phononic crystals.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number66
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 15 2021


  • Acoustic metamaterials
  • Band gaps
  • Damping
  • Evanescent Bloch waves
  • Phononic crystals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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