U of A electrical engineering researcher Zubin Jacob is the co-lead author on a study of the behaviour of photons flowing through metamaterials designed to emulate exotic electronic processes. Metamaterials are man-made nano materials, which can be used in applications as varied as future information networks, imaging and energy harvesting.
Jacob says think of metamaterials as an artificial medium that can control light. In order to control and use light in future optical circuitry, researchers need something as basic as an on-off switch for light-matter interaction. This research shows abrupt changes in the properties of an artificial medium imprints itself on light.Zubin says we are five to 10 years away from the commercial application of such metamaterial based light-matter interaction control. One area of science that metamaterials can change on a shorter term is microscope technology. The ability of metamaterials to compress the size of light will enhance the power of microscopes to nanoscopes that are able to reveal nanofeatures to the human eye.
The research was published April 13 in the journal Science.
Brian Murphy | EurekAlert!
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