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Engineering nanoscale hypersonic phonon transport


Controlling vibrations in solids is crucial to tailor their elastic properties and interaction with light. Thermal vibrations represent a source of noise and dephasing for many physical processes at the quantum level. One strategy to avoid these vibrations is to structure a solid such that it possesses a phononic stop band, that is, a frequency range over which there are no available elastic waves. Here we demonstrate the complete absence of thermal vibrations in a nanostructured silicon membrane at room temperature over a broad spectral window, with a 5.3-GHz-wide bandgap centred at 8.4 GHz. By constructing a line-defect waveguide, we directly measure gigahertz guided modes without any external excitation using Brillouin light scattering spectroscopy. Our experimental results show that the shamrock crystal geometry can be used as an efficient platform for phonon manipulation with possible applications in optomechanics and signal processing transduction.

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Fig. 1: Shamrock phononic insulator.
Fig. 2: Brillouin light scattering spectroscopy.
Fig. 3: Hypersonic phononic waveguide.

Data availability

Data supporting the results and conclusions are available at


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This project has received funding from the European Union’s H2020 FET Proactive project TOCHA (No. 824140) and Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement (No. 754558). The ICN2 authors acknowledge funding from the Severo Ochoa programme from Spanish MINECO (No. SEV-2019-0706), Plan Nacional (RTI2018-093921-A-C44 - SMOOTH) and MCIN project SIP (PGC2018-101743-B-100), as well as by the CERCA Programme Generalitat de Catalunya. O.F. and G.A. are supported by BIST PhD Fellowships, R.C.N. by a Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship (No. 897148) and P.D.G. by a Ramon y Cajal fellowship (No. RyC-2015-18124). M.A. and S.S. gratefully acknowledge funding from the Villum Foundation Young Investigator Programme (No. 13170), the Danish National Research Foundation (No. DNRF147 – NanoPhoton), Innovation Fund Denmark (No. 0175-00022 – NEXUS) and Independent Research Fund Denmark (No. 0135-00315 – VAFL).

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Authors and Affiliations



O.F. designed, simulated and characterized the samples. M.A. and S.S. fabricated the samples. G.A., R.C.N. and J.G.-B. contributed to the data analysis. C.M.S.-T. and P.D.G. supervised the work. P.D.G. conceived the idea and the project. O.F. and P.D.G. wrote the manuscript with contributions and input from all authors.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to O. Florez or P. D. García.

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Nature Nanotechnology thanks Ilari Maasilta and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Figs. 1–11 and a Supplementary Discussion divided into five sections: Section 1. Crystal design, fabrication and characterization; Section 2. Numerical calculations; Section 3. Brillouin light scattering spectroscopy; Section 4. Scattering efficiency; Section 5. Spectral tunability.

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Florez, O., Arregui, G., Albrechtsen, M. et al. Engineering nanoscale hypersonic phonon transport. Nat. Nanotechnol. 17, 947–951 (2022).

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