Over the past two decades, scientists have managed to create artificial materials whose refractive indices are negative: light is bent in the "wrong" direction. These materials might have several technological applications, including cloaking. Recently, a new technique for creating these metamaterials using kinetic inductance shows promise for dramatic miniaturization of future metamaterials systems.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers have created the world's smallest 3D optical cavities with the potential to generate the world's most intense nanolaser beams. By alternating super-thin multiple layers of silver and germanium, the researchers fabricated an "indefinite metamaterial" from which they created their 3D optical cavities.
Over the past five years mathematicians and other scientists have been working on devices that enable invisibility cloaks. Recent work involving a University of Washington mathematician has resulted in a new solution: an amplifier that boosts light, sound, or other waves while hiding them inside an invisible container. Its developers are calling it Schrödinger's hat.
Researchers are edging toward the creation of new optical technologies using "nanostructured metamaterials" capable of ultra-efficient transmission of light, with potential applications including advanced solar cells and quantum computing.
It's not magic, but new materials designed by two Northwestern University researchers seem to exhibit magical properties. Some contract when they should expand, and others expand when they should contract.
Researchers have taken a step toward overcoming a key obstacle in commercializing "hyperbolic metamaterials," structures that could bring optical advances including ultrapowerful microscopes, computers, and solar cells. The researchers have shown how to create the metamaterials without the traditional silver or gold previously required.
Pentamodes, proposed in 1995 by Graeme Milton and Andrej Cherkaev, have until now been purely theoretical. They exist when the mechanical behavior of materials such as gold or water is expressed in terms of compression and shear parameters. Materials experts in Germany have, for the first time, built such a pentamode material, and it’s called a metafluid for a specific reason.
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have designed a method to evaluate different conductors for use in metamaterial structures, which are engineered to exhibit properties not possible in natural materials.
In a recent series of experiments, a Duke University team demonstrated that a metamaterial construct they developed could create holograms—like the images seen on credit or bank cards—in the infrared range of light, something that has not been done before.
Researchers in applied physics have cleared an important hurdle in the development of advanced materials, called metamaterials, that bend light in unusual ways. Working at a scale applicable to infrared light, the Harvard University team has used extremely short and powerful laser pulses to create 3D patterns of tiny silver dots within a material. Those suspended metal dots are essential for building futuristic devices like invisibility cloaks.
By using exotic man-made materials, scientists from Duke University and Boston College believe they can greatly enhance the forces of electromagnetism (EM), one of the four fundamental forces of nature, without harming living beings or damaging electrical equipment.
The technological world of the 21st century owes a tremendous amount to advances in electrical engineering, specifically, the ability to finely control the flow of electrical charges using increasingly small and complicated circuits. And while those electrical advances continue to race ahead, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are pushing circuitry forward in a different way, by replacing electricity with light.
Researchers in the United States, for the first time, cloaked a 3D object standing in free space, bringing the much-talked-about invisibility cloak one step closer to reality. Whilst previous studies have either been theoretical in nature or limited to the cloaking of 2D objects, this study shows how ordinary objects can be cloaked in their natural environment in all directions and from all of an observer's positions.
A Michigan Technological University researcher has taken a major step toward creating superlens that could use viable light to see objects as small as 100 nm across. The secret, he says, lies in plasmons, charge oscillations near the surface of thin metal films that combine with special nanostructures.
Careful design of metamaterials has allowed scientists to build structures that can guide electromagnetic light waves around an object, forming an invisibility cloak. According to recent work at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, this concept may also be transferred to other types of waves, such as sound waves.
Managing light to carry computer data is possible today with laser light beams that are guided along a fiber-optic cable. These waves consist of countless billions of photons, which carry information down the fiber across continents. A research team at the University of Alberta wants to refine the optical transmission of information by using a single photon.
A new $13-million National Science Foundation center based at the University of Michigan will develop high-tech materials that manipulate light in new ways. The research could enable advances such as invisibility cloaks, nanoscale lasers, high-efficiency lighting, and quantum computers.
Scientists have tried this with sophisticated metamaterials, but at the Vienna University of Technology it has now been done with simple metals; materials with a negative refractive index bend light the "wrong" way.
The editors of R&D Magazine have opened the nominations for the 2012 R&D 100 Awards competition, which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the awards. If your organization introduced a new product this year, or is planning to, you can begin the entry process now.
Electrical engineers at Duke University have developed a material that allows them to manipulate light in much the same way that electronics manipulate flowing electrons. Their innovation relies on the use of a metamaterial, and the advance could help speed a transition from devices based on electrical components to those based on optical components.
Taking their cue from biological circulatory systems, University of Illinois researchers have developed vascularized structural composites, creating materials that are lightweight and strong with potential for self-healing, self-cooling, metamaterials, and more.
It’s like a slicker version of Ocean's Eleven. Invisibility cloaks made from metamaterials have been demonstrated before, but researchers in the UK have proposed a particularly unusual type that involves hiding whole events. By splitting light into "before" and "after" components, one of which is sped up and one slowed down, they say that a bank robbery could be completely hidden, or that two pieces of data could be transmitted simultaneously, without interruption.
Two Univ. of Pennsylvania engineers have proposed the possibility of two-dimensional metamaterials. These one-atom-thick metamaterials could be achieved by controlling the conductivity of sheets of graphene, which is a single layer of carbon atoms.
Like an opera singer hitting a note that shatters a glass, a signal at a particular resonant frequency can concentrate energy in a material and change its properties. And as with 18th century "musical glasses," adding a little water can change the critical pitch. Echoing both phenomena, researchers at NIST have demonstrated a unique fluid-tuned "metasurface," a concept that may be useful in biomedical sensors and microwave-assisted chemistry.
Electrical engineers at Duke Univ. have determined that unique man-made materials should theoretically make it possible to improve the power transfer to small devices, such as laptops or cell phones, or ultimately to larger ones, such as cars or elevators, without wires. This advance is made possible by the recent ability to fabricate metamaterials.