Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Exotic materials will change optics, Duke researchers say

19.03.2012
Duke University engineers believe that continued advances in creating ever-more exotic and sophisticated man-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 man-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 man-made structures that can be engineered to exhibit properties not readily found in nature.


This is a portion of a cell making up metamaterial. Credit: Stephane Larouche

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 Stéphane 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.

The other members of the team, all from Duke, were Yu-Ju Tsai, Talmage Tyler and Nan M. Jokerst.

Richard Merritt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.duke.edu

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht A new tool for discovering nanoporous materials
23.05.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

nachricht Did you know that packaging is becoming intelligent through flash systems?
23.05.2017 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>