Copyright 2009 American Physical Society.

Published in Physical Review E, Vol. 79 No. 2, Article 021308 (February 2009) at 10.1103/PhysRevE.79.021308


Vibrational spectra and normal modes of mechanically stable particle packings in three dimensions are analyzed over a range of compressions, from near the jamming transition, where the packings lose their rigidity, to far above it. At high frequency, the normal modes are localized at all compressions. At low frequency, the nature of the modes depends somewhat on compression. At large compressions, far from the transition, the lowest-frequency normal modes have some plane-wave character, though less than one would expect for a crystalline or isotropic solid. At low compressions near the jamming transition, the lowest-frequency modes are neither plane-wave-like nor localized. We characterize these differences, highlighting the unusual dispersion behavior that emerges for marginally jammed solids.