Manipulating waves by distilling frequencies: A tunable shunt-enabled rainbow trap

Davide Cardella, Paolo Celli, Stefano Gonella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


In this work, we propose and test a strategy for tunable, broadband wave attenuation in electromechanical waveguides with shunted piezoelectric inclusions. Our strategy is built upon the vast pre-existing literature on vibration attenuation and bandgap generation in structures featuring periodic arrays of piezo patches, but distinguishes itself for several key features. First, we demystify the idea that periodicity is a requirement for wave attenuation and bandgap formation. We further embrace the idea of 'organized disorder' by tuning the circuits as to resonate at distinct neighboring frequencies. In doing so, we create a tunable 'rainbow trap' (Tsakmakidis et al 2007 Nature 450 397-401) capable of attenuating waves with broadband characteristics, by distilling (sequentially) seven frequencies from a traveling wavepacket. Finally, we devote considerable attention to the implications in terms of packet distortion of the spectral manipulation introduced by shunting. This work is also meant to serve as a didactic tool for those approaching the field of shunted piezoelectrics, and attempts to provide a different perspective, with abundant details, on how to successfully design an experimental setup involving resistive-inductive shunts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number085017
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 19 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the support of the National Science Foundation (grant CMMI-1266089). Davide Cardella also acknowledges the support of the Outgoing office of Politecnico di Torino (through the Master Thesis Abroad Scholarship). We are indebted to Lauren E Linderman and Paul Bergson (University of Minnesota) for their support with the experimental equipment.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd.


  • broadband filter
  • metamaterials
  • rainbow trap
  • resonant shunts
  • wave manipulation


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