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Michael J. Leamy Among Researchers Chosen to Establish New … – Georgia Institute of Technology

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September 27, 2023
By Chloe Arrington
Michael J. Leamy, interim director of graduate student services and professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, and researchers from eight other universities have been chosen by the National Science Foundation to establish a new $30 million center focused on topological acoustics. The emerging field exploits the properties of sound in ways that could vastly improve computing, telecommunications, and sensing.
As part of the New Frontiers of Sound (NewFoS) Science and Technology Center (STC), Leamy will study wave-based devices to pave the way for new applications. He will focus on reconfigurable, electroacoustic topological insulators for devices such as acoustic multiplexers/demultiplexers and acoustic transistors; and nonlinear, tunable topological insulators with broadband operation. He will receive just under $1 million to perform the research in his lab at Georgia Tech. 
“Topological insulators, or materials exhibiting topological band structure, offer intriguing possibilities for guiding and/or isolating wave energy along surfaces, edges, and corners, to include interfaces between topologically distinct materials,” said Leamy. “Perhaps most intriguing, the underlying topology of the wave phase instills these waves with protection from backscattering at sharp interfaces and defects, thus making topological insulators appealing for use in a wide range of wave-based devices and applications.”
The center is being led by the University of Arizona and will bring together researchers from CalTech; City University of New York; Georgia Tech; Spelman College; University of Alaska Fairbanks; University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Colorado Boulder; and Wayne State University.
Researchers will also write a textbook and accompanying digital resources about topological acoustics and launch a center-scale Research Experience and Mentorship program to provide opportunities for students underrepresented in STEM to access mentoring and research experience in topological acoustics.
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