By Cameron Chai
Researchers from the Duke University have shown that a metamaterial device developed by them was able to produce holograms in the infrared light range for the first time.
This is a portion of a cell making up metamaterial. (Credit: Stephane Larouche)
According to the researchers, although this breakthrough was demonstrated in a particular light wavelength, the principles utilized to construct the metamaterials can be applied to manipulate light in virtually all frequencies.
Stéphane Larouche, one of the researchers, informed that besides holograms, the Duke University method can also be used in a broad array of optical devices. The realization of complete three-dimensional capabilities paves the way to develop novel devices with innovative properties. The study results indicate the promising opportunities for sophisticated optical devices made of metamaterials that are capable of supporting complicated material properties.
The findings of the experiments carried out in the lab of Professor David R. Smith have been reported in the journal, Nature Materials. Although the metamaterial device is nowhere related to a lens, its capability in controlling the direction of light rays traversing it is better than that of a traditional lens. It resembles like a tiny set of tan Venetian blinds.
These metamaterials are built upon thin slabs of a material, which is utilized for manufacturing computer chips. A lattice-like pattern is formed by etching metal elements upon the slabs. Metamaterials with desired properties can be fabricated by arranging these metal elements in different ways.
Larouche stated that highly sophisticated functional optical devices can be designed by efficiently controlling the underlying materials. The researchers can now efficiently develop more advanced designs by designing and producing the elements of these metamaterial structures.