Testing Hyper-complex Quantum Theories With An Exotic Metamaterial

Physicists have looked for deviations from standard quantum mechanics, testing whether quantum mechanics requires a more complex set of mathematical rules. A research team led by Philip Walther at the University of Vienna designed a photonic experiment using exotic metamaterials, which were fabricated at the University of California Berkeley. Their experiment supports standard quantum mechanics and allows the scientists to place bounds on alternative quantum theories. The results could help to guide theoretical work in a search for a more general version of quantum mechanics. [Read More]

Metamaterials Enable Semiconductor-free Microelectronic Device

The first ever semiconductor-free, optically-controlled microelectronic device has been developed by engineers at the University of California San Diego. The team used metamaterials to build a microscale device that has a 1,000 percent increase in conductivity when activated by low voltage and a low power laser. The breakthrough basically amounts to a modern-day vacuum tube in nanoscale, paves the way for microelectronic devices that are faster and capable of handling more power, and could lead to more efficient solar panels. [Read More]

First Acoustic Metamaterial Device reconfigurable in Real Time

Dynamically altering the form of a three-dimensional colloidal crystal in real time is possible, research from the University of Bristol’s Department of Mechanical Engineering shows. This was done using an acoustic metadevice that is able to influence the acoustic space and control any of the ways in which sound waves travel. The colloidal crystals in the study, called metamaterials, are artificially designed and structured materials which expand the properties of existing natural materials and compounds. [Read More]

Metamaterial Tapered Waveguide on a Chip may boost Solar Cell efficiency

In breakthrough photonics research from University at Buffalo, a nanoscale microchip component called a “multilayered waveguide taper array” has been demonstrated that absorbs each frequency of light at different places vertically to catch a “rainbow” of wavelengths, or broadband light. Unlike current chips, the waveguide contains specialized tapers, the thimble-shaped structures pictured here. The work opens up new possibilities for more efficient photovoltaic cells, improved radar and stealth technology and new ways to recycle waste heat generated by machines into energy. [Read More]

Ultra-thin Light Sensor made from Quantum Cascade Structure plus Metamaterial

Two distinct technologies- metamaterials and quantum cascade structures- have been combined for the first time to create a novel and very thin form of light detector. The delicate interactions between electrons and light make for valuable technological characteristics. Ultra-thin systems of semiconductor layers, for example, can turn electrical voltage into light. They can also be used the other way around, to serve as light detectors. But until now, it has proved difficult to couple light into these layered semiconductor systems. [Read More]

Tying Liquid Crystals in Knots with Miniature Möbius Strips

Researchers hoping to understand how liquid crystal’s unique properties can be harnessed in the next generation of advanced materials and photonic devices have shown how to tie the material into knots. Using a miniature Möbius strip made from silica particles, University of Warwick scientists literally tied liquid crystals in knots, by modifying the alignment of the long, thin, rod-like molecules that line up to all point in the same direction. [Read More]

Hyperbolic Metamaterial Waveguide for Rainbow Trapping

Buffalo University researchers have created an advanced waveguide which could lead to breakthroughs in stealth technology and solar energy. Their hyperbolic metamaterial waveguide is basically a sophisticated microchip made from alternating ultra-thin films of metal and semiconductors and/or insulators. The waveguide stops and eventually absorbs every light frequency, at somewhat different points in a vertical axis, to capture a rainbow of wavelengths. “Electromagnetic absorbers have been studied for many years, especially for military radar systems,” said Qiaoqiang Gan, PhD, an assistant professor at UB,. [Read More]