American Journal of Physics
Beads on a vibrating wire are used to simulate the discrete structure of a solid-state material. The novel idea of the experiment is to use very small oscillation amplitudes of the wire to avoid nonlinearities in the interaction. We achieve a good signal-to-noise ratio using a lock-in technique. We find quantitative agreement between theory and experiment for not only a mono- and a diatomic chain, but also for the bare wire. The latter agreement is the crucial aspect that distinguishes our experiment from previous ones. This agreement assures that the fundamental assumption of the theory ~Hooke’s law! is satisfied. We show that the properties of phonon dispersion curves are not special, and that the same band structures occur when the wavelength of any wave becomes comparable to the length scale of a discrete periodicity.
© 2004 American Association of Physics Teachers
Lüerßen, Dietrich; Easwar, Nalini; Malhotra, Ayesha; Hutchins, Libby; Schulze, Kim; and Wilcox, Brandi, "A Demonstration of Phonons That Implements the Linear Theory" (2004). Physics: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.