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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Electromagnetic metamaterials : engineering the physics of light

  • Author(s): Driscoll, Tom
  • et al.

Structures engineered to give a specific response to light are certainly nothing new. The long history of engineering materials response to light encompasses seemingly disparate structures from antennas to stained glass, lighting rods to mirrors. It is only in the recent decade, however, that we have appreciated the full gamut of possibilities this field holds, and envisioned paths towards realizing these possibilities. The new field of electromagnetic metamaterials has given us the potential to create devices that manipulate light in nearly any way we can envision. The work of this thesis is involved principally with the study of metamaterials and their unique properties. Using a wide array of developed apparatus and techniques - spanning microwave frequencies through the infrared - we investigate metamaterial behavior, and the ways they differ from conventional materials. Applications are always kept in the forefront of thought. The demonstration of a graded negative-index lens, fabricated from metamaterial fiberglass composite, highlights the potential of these structures. Characterization procedures and instruments suitable for metamaterial samples, developed in the course of this work, enable not only our investigation of the physics of metamaterials, but also facilitate the full design cycle critical to engineering. Our demonstration of dynamic tuning directly addresses the role bandwidth plays as a major roadblock to metamaterial devices. Finally a demonstrated novel use as a sensor/detector adds to the growing list of metamaterial roles in emerging technology

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