Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Controlling light at will: Metamaterials will change optics

Date:
March 18, 2012
Source:
Duke University
Summary:
Engineers believe that continued advances in creating ever-more exotic and sophisticated human-made materials will greatly improve their ability to control light at will.

Metamaterial up close.
Credit: Stephane Larouche

Duke University engineers believe that continued advances in creating ever-more exotic and sophisticated human-made materials will greatly improve their ability to control light at will.

The burgeoning use of metamaterials in the field of optics does not rely on the limited set of materials found in nature, but rather human-made constructs that can be designed to control light's many properties. This control is gained by use of metamaterials, which are not so much single substances but entire human-made structures that can be engineered to exhibit properties not readily found in nature.

In their latest series of experiments, the Duke 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 had not been done before.

The Duke engineers point out that while this advance was achieved in a specific wavelength of light, the principles used to design and create the metamaterial in their experiments should apply in controlling light in most frequencies.

"In the past, our ability to create optical devices has been limited by the properties of natural materials," said Stιphane Larouche, research scientist in electrical and computer engineering at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering. "Now, with the advent of metamaterials, we can almost do whatever we want to do with light.

"In addition to holograms, the approach we developed easily extends to a broad range of optical devices," Larouche said. "If realized, full three-dimensional capabilities open the door to new devices combining a wide range of properties. Our experiments provide a glimpse of the opportunities available for advanced optical devices based on metamaterials that can support quite complex material properties."

The results of Larouche's experiments, which were conducted in the laboratory of senior researcher David R. Smith, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, appeared in an advanced online publication of the journal Nature Materials. The research was supported by the Army Research Office's Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI).

The metamaterial device fashioned by the Duke team doesn't look anything like a lens, though its ability to control the direction of rays passing through it surpasses that of a conventional lens. While traditional lenses are made of clear substances -- like glass or plastic -- with highly polished surfaces, the new device looks more like a miniature set of tan Venetian blinds.

These metamaterials are constructed on thin slabs of the same material used to make computer chips. Metal elements are etched upon these slabs to form a lattice-like pattern. The metal elements can be arranged in limitless ways, depending on the properties desired.

"There is unquestionable potential for far more advanced and functional optical devices if greater control can be obtained over the underlying materials," Larouche said. "The ability to design and fabricate the components of these metamaterial constructs has reached the point where we can now build even more sophisticated designs.

"We believe that just about any optical device can be made more efficient and effective using these new approaches," he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Stιphane Larouche, Yu-Ju Tsai, Talmage Tyler, Nan M. Jokerst, David R. Smith. Infrared metamaterial phase holograms. Nature Materials, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nmat3278

Cite This Page:

Duke University. "Controlling light at will: Metamaterials will change optics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120318143918.htm>.
Duke University. (2012, March 18). Controlling light at will: Metamaterials will change optics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120318143918.htm
Duke University. "Controlling light at will: Metamaterials will change optics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120318143918.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) — The urban 4x4 is the latest must-have for Chinese drivers, whose conversion to the cult of the SUV is the talking point of this year's Beijing auto show. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — The light-field photography engineers at Lytro unveiled their next innovation: a professional DSLR-like camera called "Illum." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
 
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins