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Metamaterials

Click here to go to our page on permittivity

click here to go to our page on permeability

We now have a technical description of metamaterials, from a university student in India. Check it out!

Metamaterials are a class of artificial material structures comprised of patterned metal and dielectric layers. Metal features are small compared to wavelength, and the features are periodic.

By carefully engineering the structure, a negative index of refraction can occur at specific frequencies. Looking at this another way, the Poynting vector no longer obeys the right-hand rule; this is what give metamaterials the nickname "left-handed materials". Note that negative refraction is not the equivalent of perpetual motion, it just means that EM energy bends in the opposite direction you'd think it would when it encounters left-handedness.

The index is a function of the permittivity and permeability of a material:

Metamaterials

it is also equal to the the speed of light in vacuum divided by the phase velocity in the material:

Metamaterials

What can we do with this new class of materials at microwave frequencies? The number one suggestion for microwave application is as stealth technology, or in words James T. Kirk would understand, as a cloaking device. But the utility of such a device is expected to be limited, it might only spoof your enemies if they used a specific frequency and illuminated your hardware at a specific angle. There might also be some interesting ways to use metamaterials in antennas. Optical metamaterials might have a bright future in Las Vegas, as part of a magic act. Now you see it, now you don't!

Even though we want to give metamaterials the benefit of the doubt, it is mentioned on on our career-killer page.

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