We consider the mechanical motion of a system of six macroscopic pendula which are connected with springs and arranged in a hexagonal geometry. When the springs are pre-tensioned, the coupling between neighbouring pendula along the longitudinal (L) and the transverse (T) directions are different: identifying the motion along the L and T directions as the two components of a spin-like degree of freedom, we theoretically and experimentally verify that the pre-tensioned springs result in a tunable spin-orbit coupling. We elucidate the structure of such a spin-orbit coupling in the extended two-dimensional honeycomb lattice, making connections to physics of graphene. The experimental frequencies and the oscillation patterns of the eigenmodes for the hexagonal ring of pendula are extracted from a spectral analysis of the motion of the pendula in response to an external excitation and are found to be in good agreement with our theoretical predictions. We anticipate that extending this classical analogue of quantum mechanical spin-orbit coupling to two-dimensional lattices will lead to exciting new topological phenomena in classical mechanics.
New Journal of Physics
- Pub Date:
- May 2017
- Condensed Matter - Mesoscale and Nanoscale Physics;
- Condensed Matter - Quantum Gases;
- Physics - Classical Physics
- New J. Phys. 19 055001 (2017) - Focus issue: Topological Mechanics