Catch a Quasiperiodic Wave

Quasicrystals are unusual metallic alloys whose atoms are arranged in orderly patterns that are not quite crystalline. One of the many mysteries surrounding these materials is how to describe the motion of electrons inside them. Previous work has suggested that Bloch-like waves--which describe electron motion in classic crystals--can occur in quasicrystals as well. Recent research strengthens this case by showing Bloch-like liquid surface waves in a pool with a quasiperiodic floor pattern. This is the first time such waves have been seen in a fluid.

Catch a Quasiperiodic Wave

Waves of order.
Vibrating a fluid-filled pan with a specially prepared bottom creates quasiperiodic standing waves on the surface (above, false color). A wave pulse sent through this background sheds light on the mathematical description of an electron traversing a quasiperiodic crystal.

Image Credit:
M. Torres/CSIC, Spain

Read more about this research at Physical Review Focus.

Text courtesy of Physical Review Focus.