Posts Tagged ‘metamaterials’

Someday things will be invisible

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Mobile post sent by futileboy using Utterz Replies.  mp3

Mobile post sent by futileboy using Utterz Replies.  mp3

Mobile post sent by futileboy using Utterz Replies.  mp3

In the near future there will be invisibility thanks to metamaterials. I found this entry in a long DARPA document very interesting.

As mentioned, prosthetic “metamaterials” are engineered composites that exhibit superior properties that are not observed in the constituent materials or nature. The objective of the DARPA MetaMaterials program is to develop, fabricate, and implement new, bulk metamaterials that will fill the tremendous voids that exist in the design space for a number of applications that are of critical importance to the Military Services. In particular, the MetaMaterials program will develop magnetic metamaterials for power electronics and electric drive and propulsion, and microwave and optical metamaterials for antenna, radar and wireless communication applications. During FY 2001, considerable progress was made in understanding the physics of nanocomposite permanent magnets for achieving increased energy product, a figure-of-merit that determines the amount of work that can be extracted from a permanent magnet motor/generator. In addition, a completely new class of metamaterials, “left-handed” or “negative index” materials, was demonstrated and shown to exhibit novel focusing properties at microwave frequencies. In FY 2002, these efforts are continuing and will work towards demonstrating material performance capabilities that exceed the current state of the art. For example, one goal for FY 2002 is to demonstrate a significant enhancement in the energy product for bulk, nanocomposite permanent magnets. Another goal is to further explore, understand, model, and demonstrate the implications of a material with negative index of refraction. In FY 2003, the emphasis of the program will shift toward optimization of metamaterial performance and efforts will begin to focus on implementing the newly developed metamaterials in one or more DoD applications that will demonstrate the new and/or enhanced capabilities that can be achieved as a result of the metamaterials’ superior properties

If we can do it now with microwaves it’s doesn’t seem so far fetched to do it with visible light. My favorite part about this research is that it’s taking what was once impossible and making it real. I first learned of the concept of a metamaterial while working with Maya creating materials with negative refractiong indexes. You can create objects that work against our common understanding of nature, but once you start doing that virtually, it doesn’t seem as far fetched to bring it in to the real world.