Professor John Pendry, a physicist at Imperial College London, launched what has become a metamaterial revolution. In the late 1990s, he discovered something radical: He could change an object’s material properties just by changing its internal structure, without altering its chemical or molecular makeup. Pendry suggested that building a complex lattice structure could allow manipulation of an object’s magnetic and electrical fields. Theoretically, this could allow engineers to design materials that could control their interactions with the electromagnetic spectrum, including visible light.
1. Fred Hapgood and Andrew Grant, “Metamaterial Revolution: The New Science of Making Anything Disappear,” Discover, April 2009.
2. D. Schurig, J. J. Mock, B. J. Justice, S. A. Cummer, J. B. Pendry, A. F. Stass, D. R. Smith, “Metamaterial Electromagnetic Cloak at Microwave Frequencies,” Science 314, 5801 (10 November 2006).
3. This process is often referred to as transformation optics.
4. Balamati Choudhury and R. M. Jha, “A Review of Metamaterial Invisibility Cloaks,” Computers, Materials & Continua 33, 3 (2013): 275.
5. Zi Jing Wong, Yuan Wang, Kevin O’Brien, Junsuk Rho, Xiaobo Yin, Shuang Zhang, Nicholas Fang, Ta-Jen Yen, and Xiang Zhang, “Optical and Acoustic Metamaterials: Superlens, Negative Refractive Index and Invisibility Cloak,” Journal of Optics 19, 8 (July 2017): 1; in acoustic science, both mass density and bulk modulus determine the index of refraction.
6. Wong et al., “Optical and Acoustic Metamaterials,” 4.
7. Michael R. Haberman, “Acoustic Metamaterials,” Acoustics Today (Fall 2016).
8. Acoustical Society of America, “Underwater Acoustic Ground Cloak Designed: Researchers Engineer Material with Properties Not Typically Found in Nature, Concealing Object From Sound Waves,” Science Daily, 10 May 2018.
9. “Future is Now” is the company slogan for the Kuang-Chi Institute of Advanced Technology, the leading metamaterial research and development center in the People’s Republic of China.