Nav: Home

Riding the wave: Pioneering research tames nanoquakes

August 02, 2017

Researchers from the University of Exeter have pioneered a new technique to control high frequency sound waves, commonly found within everyday devices such as mobile phones.

The research team, led by Professor Geoff Nash from the University of Exeter, have created a new structure that can manipulate the extreme frequency sound waves - also known as surface acoustic waves or 'nanoquakes' , as they run across the surface of a solid material in a similar manner to earthquake tremors on land.

Although surface acoustic waves (SAWs) form a key component of a host of technologies, they have proved extremely difficult to control with any degree of accuracy. Now, the team from the Natural Sciences department at the University of Exeter have developed a new type of structure, known as a ' phononic crystal,' which when patterned into a device, can be used to steer and guide the nanoquakes,

The research is published in leading science journal, Nature Communications, on August 2, 2017.

Professor Nash , lead author of the research said: "Surface acoustic wave devices are already found in a myriad of technologies, including radar systems and chemical sensing, but are increasingly being developed for applications such as lab-on-a-chip.

"Lab-on-a-chip approaches shrink conventional chemistry and biology laboratories to the size of a few millimetres, and SAWs in these systems can be used to transport and mix chemicals, or to carry out biological functions such as cell sorting.

"Yet until now, it has been extremely hard to make a structure such as ours that can be used to easily direct surface acoustic waves. Our new phononic crystal design is able to control the nanoquakes with just a handful of crystal elements, making it much easier to produce than those previously demonstrated.

"We are confident that these results will pave the way for the next generation of novel SAW device concepts, such as lab-on-a-chip biosensors, that rely on the control and manipulation of SAW nanoquakes. Even more remarkably, it has also been proposed that these structures could be scaled-up to provide protection from earth quakes."

The innovative study began as an undergraduate project with students Benjamin Ash and Sophie Worsfold, who are two of the four authors of the research paper. Ben is now studying for a PhD at Exeter with Professor Peter Vukusic, the final author of the paper, and Professor Nash within the Exeter EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Metamaterials.

Sophie said: ""Working with Geoff and his group for my undergraduate project was one of my favourite parts of my degree. Although I'm now training to be an actuary, I use many of the skills I learned day to day in my role, and the independence and confidence I gained have proved to be invaluable in pursuing my career. I'm incredibly excited to have been part of this ground-breaking research."

Professor Nash, who is Director of Natural Sciences at Exeter added: "Having moved to Exeter from industry relatively recently, it has been absolutely fantastic to be able to involve our brilliant undergraduates in my research. They bring energy, enthusiasm and a different perspective, and make a real and extremely valuable contribution to the research of my group.
-end-
Natural Sciences at Exeter is an innovative flagship programme designed to explore the scientific concepts needed to explain the natural world, from the nanoscale to the complex systems of the Earth's climate and our solar system.

University of Exeter

Related Research Articles:


Related Research Reading:

A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Eighth Edition: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)
by Kate L. Turabian (Author), Wayne C. Booth (Editor), Gregory G. Colomb (Editor), Joseph M. Williams (Editor), University of Chicago Press Staff (Editor)

A little more than seventy-five years ago, Kate L. Turabian drafted a set of guidelines to help students understand how to write, cite, and formally submit research writing. Seven editions and more than nine million copies later, the name Turabian has become synonymous with best practices in research writing and style. Her Manual for Writers continues to be the gold standard for generations of college and graduate students in virtually all academic disciplines. Now in its eighth edition, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations has been fully revised to... View Details


The Craft of Research, Fourth Edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)
by Wayne C. Booth (Author), Gregory G. Colomb (Author), Joseph M. Williams (Author), Joseph Bizup (Author), William T. FitzGerald (Author)

With more than three-quarters of a million copies sold since its first publication, The Craft of Research has helped generations of researchers at every level—from first-year undergraduates to advanced graduate students to research reporters in business and government—learn how to conduct effective and meaningful research. Conceived by seasoned researchers and educators Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, this fundamental work explains how to find and evaluate sources, anticipate and respond to reader reservations, and integrate these pieces into an... View Details


Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, 4th Edition
by John W. Creswell (Author)

The eagerly anticipated Fourth Edition of the title that pioneered the comparison of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research design is here! For all three approaches, Creswell includes a preliminary consideration of philosophical assumptions, a review of the literature, an assessment of the use of theory in research approaches, and refl ections about the importance of writing and ethics in scholarly inquiry. He also presents the key elements of the research process, giving specifi c attention to each approach. The Fourth Edition includes... View Details


Research Strategies: Finding Your Way Through the Information Fog, 5th Edition
by William Badke (Author)

Online resources have given us access to more knowledge than ever before. We're buried in data, and defining what is and what is not genuine information becomes more of a challenge all the time. In this fifth edition of Research Strategies, author William Badke helps you make sense of all of the available information, shows you how to navigate and discern it, and details how to use it to your advantage to become a better researcher. Badke focuses on informational research and provides a host of tips and advice not only for conducting research, but also for everything from finding a topic to... View Details


ReSearch: A Career Guide for Scientists
by Teresa M. Evans (Author), Natalie Lundsteen (Author), Nathan L. Vanderford (Author)

ReSearch: A Career Guide for Scientists is a career planning guide and practical tool for graduate students and postdocs. This book provides step-by-step processes for the assessment of career goals and the actions that can be taken in order to achieve them. ReSearch includes chapters on the basics of career planning, determining unique selling points, and navigating work-life concerns.

This book also includes narratives from a number of perspectives to showcase the variety of career options available. ReSearch is written by experts with inside knowledge of how... View Details


Nursing Research: Generating and Assessing Evidence for Nursing Practice
by Denise F. Polit PhD FAAN (Author), Cheryl Tatano Beck DNSc CNM FAAN (Author)

Publisher’s Note:   Products purchased from 3rd Party sellers are not guaranteed by the Publisher for quality, authenticity, or access to any online entitlements included with the product.

Nursing Research: Generating and Assessing Evidence for Nursing Practice, 10th Edition has been updated to incorporate new methodological advances and, to the extent possible, substantive examples used to illustrate concepts will be from articles published in 2013 to 2015. The organizational structure introduced in the 9th edition will be maintained — i.e., content... View Details


Action Research: Improving Schools and Empowering Educators
by Craig A. Mertler (Author)

Craig Mertler’s Action Research: Improving Schools and Empowering Educators introduces practicing educators to the process of conducting classroom-based action research.  Practical and comprehensive, the book focuses on research methods and procedures that educators can use in their everyday practice.  This Fifth Edition adds enhanced coverage of rigor and ethics in action research, means of establishing quality of both quantitative and qualitative data, as well as strengthened pedagogical features. New material includes discussions of social justice... View Details


Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences
by Frederick J Gravetter (Author), Lori-Ann B. Forzano (Author)

RESEARCH METHODS FOR THE BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES, Fifth Edition, helps readers see how interesting and exciting experimental and nonexperimental research can be. Inviting and conversational, the book leads readers through the research process from start to finish. It begins with tips and strategies for generating research ideas, moves to selecting measures and participants, and then offers an examination of research strategy and design. This step-by-step presentation emphasizes the decisions researchers must make at each stage of the process. The authors avoid a "cookbook" approach by linking... View Details


Research Methodology: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners
by Ranjit Kumar (Author)

Lecturers - request an e-inspection copy of this text  or contact your local SAGE representative to discuss your course needs.

Research Methodology: A Step by Step Guide for Beginners
has been written specifically for those with no previous experience of research or research methodology. Written in a logical and accessible style and providing helpful techniques and examples, it breaks the process of designing and doing a research project into eight manageable operational steps. The book guides you through your project from... View Details


Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation
by Sharan B. Merriam (Author), Elizabeth J. Tisdell (Author)

The bestselling guide to qualitative research, updated and expanded

Qualitative Research is the essential guide to understanding, designing, conducting, and presenting a qualitative research study. This fourth edition features new material covering mixed methods, action research, arts-based research, online data sources, and the latest in data analysis, including data analysis software packages as well as narrative and poetic analysis strategies. A new section offers multiple ways of presenting qualitative research findings. The reader-friendly, jargon-free style makes this... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2017

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2017. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Simple Solutions
Sometimes, the best solutions to complex problems are simple. But simple doesn't always mean easy. This hour, TED speakers describe the innovation and hard work that goes into achieving simplicity. Guests include designer Mileha Soneji, chef Sam Kass, sleep researcher Wendy Troxel, public health advocate Myriam Sidibe, and engineer Amos Winter.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#448 Pavlov (Rebroadcast)
This week, we're learning about the life and work of a groundbreaking physiologist whose work on learning and instinct is familiar worldwide, and almost universally misunderstood. We'll spend the hour with Daniel Todes, Ph.D, Professor of History of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University, discussing his book "Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science."