The complex sequential response of frustrated materials results from the interactions between material bits called hysterons. Hence, a central challenge is to understand and control these interactions, so that materials with targeted pathways and functionalities can be realized. Here, we show that hysterons in serial configurations experience geometrically controllable antiferromagnetic-like interactions. We create hysteron-based metamaterials that leverage these interactions to realize targeted pathways, including those that break the return point memory property, characteristic of independent or weakly interacting hysterons. We uncover that the complex response to sequential driving of such strongly interacting hysteron-based materials can be described by finite state machines. We realize information processing operations such as string parsing in materia, and outline a general framework to uncover and characterize the FSMs for a given physical system. Our work provides a general strategy to understand and control hysteron interactions, and opens a broad avenue toward material-based information processing.

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European Research Council (ERC) , European Union Horizon 2020
Mechanical Metamaterials

Liu, J., Teunisse, M., Korovin, G., Vermaire, I., Jin, L., Bense, H., & van Hecke, M. (2024). Controlled pathways and sequential information processing in serially coupled mechanical hysterons. PNAS, 121(22), e2308414121: 1–10. doi:10.1073/pnas.2308414121