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Metamaterials

2011 - a year in technology

We cast a wide net over all types of new and emerging technologies here at Gizmag.com - some save us time, some keep us connected, some help us stay healthy and some are just plain fun, but at the core of what we cover are those discoveries and innovations which have the potential to impact the fortunes of the human race as a whole and make a difference to the future of our planet. So with the calender having rolled over into another year, it's an ideal time to take a look back at some of the most significant and far-reaching breakthroughs that we saw during 2011.  Read More

A scientist has proposed a 'fluid flow cloak,' which might reduce the drag on ships' hulls...

North Carolina’s Duke University has been grabbing some headlines over the past few years, due to research carried out there involving the use of metamaterials for creating functioning invisibility cloaks. Just this month, Duke researchers announced that they had developed another such material that could be used to manipulate the frequency and direction of light at will, for use in optical switching. Now, Duke’s Prof. Yaroslav Urzhumov has proposed that metamaterials could also be used to drastically reduce the drag on ships’ hulls, “by tricking the surrounding water into staying still.”  Read More

A fundamental property of metamaterials is the ability to produce negative refraction

Duke University is on a roll, showing off yet another potentially game-changing property of the exotic man-made substances known as metamaterials. This time the property could have deep consequences for the transmission of information via light. Maybe the most important potential use of all.  Read More

Scientists have created a metallic material that can switch back and forth between hard an...

We may not yet have the liquid metal depicted in the Terminator movies, but scientists have now developed something that’s vaguely along the same lines. German materials scientist Dr. Jörg Weißmüller and Chinese research scientist Hai-Jun Jin have created a metallic material that can change back and forth between being strong but brittle and soft but malleable, via electrical signals.  Read More

Duke University scientists have outlined a theory for the use of metamaterials in facilita...

The weird properties of artificially engineered metamaterials are at the core of research into invisibility cloaking, but engineers from Duke University in North Carolina suggest that these materials could also provide a boost to another of technology's quests - wireless power transmission. In this latest hard-to-get-your-head-around metamaterial scenario, it's not the cloaked object that "disappears" - it's the space between the charger and the chargee.  Read More

SEM image of a fabricated carpet cloak, the insets show the oblique view of the carpet clo...

Efforts to create a working "invisibility cloak" have generally involved the use of artificial materials with a negative refractive index known as metamaterials. Another promising technique involves the use of a natural crystal called calcite that boasts an optical property known as birefringence, or double-refraction. While both methods have proven successful in rendering very small objects invisible in specific wavelengths of light by bending and channeling light around them, both techniques require the "cloak" to be orders of magnitude larger than the object being concealed. Researchers are now reporting progress in overcoming this size limitation using a technology known as a "carpet cloak."  Read More

Scientists have determined that it's theoretically  possible to create a spacetime cloak t...

Take some light bending metamaterials, incorporate them into flexible fabric and you have yourself an invisibility cloak. That's the theory anyway, and it doesn't stop at hiding objects. Building on the optical invisibility research of Professor Sir John Pendry, researchers from Imperial College, London, have now proposed that similar metamaterials could be used to conceal entire events – get ready for the "Spacetime cloak".  Read More

Scottish researchers are reporting a "practical breakthrough" that could lead to the development of that most sought after of wardrobe items – the invisibility cloak. The concept of the invisibility cloak (not pictured) is based around harnessing the unique electromagnetic wave-bending properties of metamaterials, but this poses problems when it comes to creating flexible surfaces suitable for applications like clothing and contact superlenses for visual prostheses... problems which the new material design known as "Metaflex" hopes to address.  Read More

A test of the Multiple Memory Material Technology

They’re known as smart materials, memory materials or shape memory alloys, but it all boils down to the same thing: materials that hold one shape, but then take on another at a certain temperature. Such substances have been around for decades, but now researchers at Canada’s University of Waterloo have taken them to a new level. Using a patent-pending process, they can embed multiple shape memories in one object – in other words, while memory materials can presently take on only two shapes, going from one to the other at just one temperature, using the new process they could take on several shapes at several temperatures. The Multiple Memory Material Technology (MMMT) is said to work with virtually any memory material.  Read More

Elena Semouchkina holds the ceramic resonators that enable her to make objects appear invi...

We’ve covered a few different research efforts looking to develop “invisibility cloak” technology on Gizmag, including 3D metamaterials that negatively refract visible and near-infrared light and U-shaped “nano-rings” that manipulate light. The latest news sure to get Harry Potter fans excited comes out of Michigan Technical University where Elena Semouchkina, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, has found ways to use magnetic resonance to capture rays of visible light and route them around objects, rendering them invisible to the human eye.  Read More

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