PerspectiveApplied Physics

Selecting the Direction of Sound Transmission

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Science  31 Jan 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6170, pp. 495-496
DOI: 10.1126/science.1249616

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Structures that admit flow in only one direction are commonplace—consider one-way streets, insect traps, and the staple of the police procedural story, the one-way mirror. However, creating a device that allows waves to pass in only one direction, termed an isolator, is challenging because of the inherently symmetric physics of wave phenomena. On page 516 of this issue, Fleury et al. (1), taking inspiration from a natural electromagnetic phenomenon, designed and demonstrated an engineered structure that allows one-way transmission of sound waves.