Visions 21: Metamaterials

Structured composites with remarkable optical properties

Recently, a new class of unusual materials has come to the fore, which interact with light in a way that appears to break the laws of physics. 

Their unexpected optical properties do not arise from their atomic or molecular composition – as is usual – but from larger-scale arrays of specially designed microstructures. 

These so-called metamaterials are causing great excitement. Their extraordinary behaviour could not only lead to major improvements in telecommunications and data storage, but also to totally new applications such as ‘superlenses’ and ‘invisibility cloaks’.

Visions 21: Metamaterials (PDF, 506 KB)