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Meta-materials (MM: materials beyond the imagination) have been largely confined to tricks in the lab because the required components of silver and gold are not well adapted to semiconductor manufacturing processes and too much of the material is lost. These MM have the ability to bend narrow wavelengths of light, sound, and seismic waves. They have been used to make objects seem to “disappear.” [...]

Solar Energy

Disappearing Meta-materials Now More Common

Meta-materials (MM: materials beyond the imagination) have been largely confined to tricks in the lab because the required components of silver and gold are not well adapted to semiconductor manufacturing processes and too much of the material is lost. These MM have the ability to bend narrow wavelengths of light, sound, and seismic waves. They have been used to make objects seem to “disappear.” […]

Disappearing

Meta-materials (MM: materials beyond the imagination) have been largely confined to tricks in the lab because the required components of silver and gold are not well adapted to semiconductor manufacturing processes and too much of the material is lost. These MM have the ability to bend narrow wavelengths of light, sound, and seismic waves. They have been used to make objects seem to “disappear.”

Purdue Researchers, however, have found a way to substitute the precious minerals with AZO (aluminum-doped zinc oxide.) The research has been released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In addition to making the MM cheaper and easier to manufacture, tuning and electrically switching the way the substance reacts from “like a metal” to “like a dielectric” is possible with the new doping technique.

Natural materials have limits. They have a refractive index that causes light to bend when passing from one material to another. Components must also be larger than wavelengths of light. These limitations are removed with artificial MM. Just a partial list of what is possible with these MM includes:

  • Microscopes that will allow us to see DNA;
  • cloaking devices;
  • sensors;
  • solar collectors that more efficiently capture light.

And now all of this can be more commercially available.

Not surprisingly, the research is funded by the military. Imagine a tank, jet, or ship that has a heat-seeking missile locked on a collision course. With a flip of a switch, there no longer appears to be any heat to track. Imagine, instead, of black hawk helicopters — MM helicopters completely invisible to heat, light or sound. But what I would really like to see first is a magician, working in short sleeves, pull a rabbit from thin air. No sleight of hand, just technology “beyond our imagination.”

Source: Purdue University
Photocredit: David Naggy

 
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We share this World; its past, present resources and our combined future. With every aspiration, the very molecules we use for life are passed to others through time and space so that each of us may be considered a Breath on the Wind. This part of the world's consciousness lives in NYC; has worked in law, research, construction, engineering; has traveled, often drawn to Asia; writes on Energy and Electric Vehicle issues and looks forward to all your comments.   "If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect." -- Benjamin Franklin

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