Magical Metamaterials

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Metamaterials are a new class of materials that have been engineered to have properties not found in nature. It is a multidisciplinary science made possible by the tools of nanotechnology. The name refers to “materials beyond the imagination.”

Materials and energy interact with each other (Obi-Wan tried to tell us). So far, metamaterials are being engineered to resonate in a very narrow wavelength of energy. Scientists are looking for more potential metamaterials, but this often involves the use of structure with not as much emphasis on composition. It is the genetic engineering of materials science. “The key to [some] metamaterial is its ability to manipulate the refractive index of light.”

What have we done so far?

Metamaterials are finding applications in all fields. Various light and sound cloaking devices have been developed in a narrow range of wave-lengthts (many of which are in any event beyond our visible and audible range. The practice involves inducing such waves to flow around objects rather than bounce off of them to a sensing device or an observer. Research has been carried out using metamaterials designed to work with sonic, electromagnetic and even seismic waves.

Enhanced wireless transmission is an early project for metamaterials. One of the first applications of metamaterials may be to modify MRI machines. But metamaterials have already been used to recreate the “big bang” and in cell phones. If metamaterials are known for warping energy and allowing it to flow around objects in the same way that gravity works on light, what about anti gravity and warp drive? They have been considered as well.

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