Metamaterials (MMs) are man made materials with unusual electromagnetic properties that are not typically found in Nature. They are the key to achieving such extraordinary properties as invisibility cloaks and perfect lenses. At present, they are bulky and confined to laboratories. If they were flexible, they could become much more versatile and practical. I am working towards a novel concept for flexible MMs (Metaflex) that will turn current cloaking devices from suits of armour into true cloaks.
In the following figure a single layer of Metaflex is placed on a commercial disposable contact lens, to show the potential of the approach.
My interest in Metaflex arises from diverse theoretical and experimental projects in photonic structures and nanofabrication and from the knowledge gained throughout these projects, including the physics and applications of MMs. This project contains many exciting scientific challenges, which offer the possibility of developing the extraordinary properties of MMs for every-day life applications that were unimaginable only a few years ago.
Recently we managed to demonstrate that it is possible to fabricate Metaflex with a fishnet meta-atom, with a resonance in the visible. This could be the first step towards three-dimensional flexible metamaterials at visible frequencies.
Claudio Conti, University Sapienza, Italy
Armin Goelzhaeuser, Bielefeld University, Germany
Andrea Alu', University of Texas at Austin, USA
Metaflex is funded by a Career Acceleration Fellowship by EPSRC and a Research Grant from Royal Society