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Nano Lett. 2017 Oct 11;17(10):5977-5983. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b02026. Epub 2017 Sep 21.

Complex Dynamical Networks Constructed with Fully Controllable Nonlinear Nanomechanical Oscillators.

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Condensed Matter Physics and Kavli Nanoscience Institute, California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, California 91125, United States.
Santa Fe Institute , 1399 Hyde Park Rd, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501, United States.


Control of the global parameters of complex networks has been explored experimentally in a variety of contexts. Yet, the more difficult prospect of realizing arbitrary network architectures, especially analog physical networks that provide dynamical control of individual nodes and edges, has remained elusive. Given the vast hierarchy of time scales involved, it also proves challenging to measure a complex network's full internal dynamics. These span from the fastest nodal dynamics to very slow epochs over which emergent global phenomena, including network synchronization and the manifestation of exotic steady states, eventually emerge. Here, we demonstrate an experimental system that satisfies these requirements. It is based upon modular, fully controllable, nonlinear radio frequency nanomechanical oscillators, designed to form the nodes of complex dynamical networks with edges of arbitrary topology. The dynamics of these oscillators and their surrounding network are analog and continuous-valued and can be fully interrogated in real time. They comprise a piezoelectric nanomechanical membrane resonator, which serves as the frequency-determining element within an electrical feedback circuit. This embodiment permits network interconnections entirely within the electrical domain and provides unprecedented node and edge control over a vast region of parameter space. Continuous measurement of the instantaneous amplitudes and phases of every constituent oscillator node are enabled, yielding full and detailed network data without reliance upon statistical quantities. We demonstrate the operation of this platform through the real-time capture of the dynamics of a three-node ring network as it evolves from the uncoupled state to full synchronization.


NEMS; complex networks; control; dynamical systems; nanomechanical oscillators; nonlinearity; synchronization

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