Broadband Transformational Optics Lens, Described in "Applied Physics Letters," May Lead to Antenna Dishes that are Flat or Conform to Any Surface
By depositing an array of tiny, metallic, U-shaped structures onto a dielectric material, a team of researchers in China has created a new artificial surface that can bend and focus electromagnetic waves the same way an antenna does.
T.J. Cui/Southeast University Nanjing
CAPTION The prototype of the fabricated metasurface lens shown with simulated x components of electric fields at 9 GHz with the source placed at the bottom left, right and center of the lens.
This breakthrough, which the team is calling the first broadband transformation optics metasurface lens, may lead to the creation of new types of antennas that are flat, ultra low-profile or conformal to the shape of curved surfaces.
The new lens, described in AIP Publishing's journal Applied Physics Letters, was fabricated by Tie Jun Cui and colleagues at Southeast University in Nanjing, China and is an example of a metasurface or metamaterial -- an artificial material engineered in the lab that has properties not found in nature. In this case, by coating the surface with the tiny U-shaped elements, it acquires properties that mimic something known as a Luneburg lens.
First discovered in the 1940s Luneburg lenses are traditionally spherical optics that interact with light in an unusual way. Most lenses are made of a single material like plastic or glass that bends light passing through in a consistent, characteristic way -- a key characteristic of the material, which is called its "index of refraction." Some materials, like glass, have a higher index of refraction and bend light more than other materials -- such as quartz.
A Luneburg lens has the unusual property of bending light more or less depending on where the light strikes the lens. This is because in a Luneburg lens, the index of refraction varies across the spherical lens body, making it very different than a normal lens. Luneburg lenses can focus light or incoming electromagnetic waves to an off-axis point at the edge of the lens (not directly in front or behind it as a normal lens would do). Or they can uniformly channel electromagnetic waves emanating from a nearby point source and radiate them in a single direction -- something no spherical lens can do.
Because of their properties, Luneburg lenses find a variety of applications as radar reflectors and microwave antennae. However, the spherical shape of a typical Luneburg lens is inconvenience in some applications, Cui said, which is why he and his colleagues used inhomogeneous artificial structures to create a flat surface that acts like a Luneburg lens.
The new work compliments the traditional way of constructing Luneburg lenses based on geometric optics -- as well as a second way discovered in the last few years that uses holographic optics.
"We now have three systematical designing methods to manipulate the surface waves with inhomogeneous metasurfaces, the geometric optics, holographic optics, and transformation optics," Cui said. "These technologies can be combined to exploit more complicated applications."
The article, "A broadband transformation-optics metasurface lens" by Xiang Wan, Wei Xiang Jiang, Hui Feng Ma, and Tie Jun Cui appears on the cover of the journal Applied Physics Letters on April 14, 2014 (DOI: 10.1063/1.4870809). After that date it can be accessed at: http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/apl/104/15/10.1063/1.4870809
ABOUT THE JOURNAL
Applied Physics Letters features concise, rapid reports on significant new findings in applied physics. The journal covers new experimental and theoretical research on applications of physics phenomena related to all branches of science, engineering, and modern technology. See: http://apl.aip.org
Jason Socrates Bardi | newswise
From the cosmos to fusion plasmas, PPPL presents findings at global APS gathering
13.11.2018 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
A two-atom quantum duet
12.11.2018 | Institute for Basic Science
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
14.11.2018 | Life Sciences
14.11.2018 | Life Sciences
14.11.2018 | Earth Sciences