Looking Beyond The Horizon

Innovative Technologies & Services

Metamaterial refracts light the other way – Fundamental research in optics

Posted by evolvingwheel on October 15, 2007

A research group from Princeton has developed a metamaterial from the semiconductors in a computer chip that is capable of refracting light in the opposite direction from the conventional materials. This breakthrough has been achieved by arranging the semiconductor materials in an alternate pattern in a 3-dimensional format. Earlier, metamaterials were being created in a 2-dimensional format. However, this 3-dimensional arrangement has been able to create the novel property of bending light in the negative direction. The research detail can be found [here].

The research is part of a multi-institutional research center called Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment (MIRTHE). MIRTHE is a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center headquartered at Princeton University, with partners City College New York, Johns Hopkins University, Rice, Texas A&M, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County.


The negative refraction achieved in the metamaterial will be able to create microscopes with many fold higher magnification than the conventional ones. The negative refraction property used in flat lenses could compensate the optical aberration created by curved lenses. Furthermore, this research can open the doorway for minuscule particle detection systems using IR light source and sophisticated sensors.


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