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Metamaterials


— Science

Proposed 'fluid flow cloak' might greatly reduce ships' hydrodynamic drag

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
— Science

Metallic material can switch back and forth between hard and soft states

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
— Electronics

Metamaterials could significantly boost wireless power transmission

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
— Science

Researchers overcome size hurdle in quest for invisibility cloak

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
— Science

'Spacetime Cloak' could conceal events

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
— Science

Flexible metamaterials the key to a working invisibility cloak?

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
— Good Thinking

New tech allows 'memory materials' to store multiple memorized shapes

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
— Science

Researchers working on an invisibility cloak made of glass

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
— Science

Tiny light mill could have big applications in nanotech

OK, first of all, what’s a light mill? It’s a simple rotary motor consisting of four flat vanes mounted to a central axis, which spins when subjected to light. Light mills have been around since 1873, mostly just as novelty items, and have pretty much always been at least a few inches tall. Less than a week ago, however, scientists at California’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory announced the creation of a light mill just 100 nanometers in size. Unlike its bigger brothers, this tiny device might actually have some very practical applications. Read More
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