PerspectiveMaterials Science

Metamaterials Beyond Optics

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Science  22 Nov 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6161, pp. 939-940
DOI: 10.1126/science.1246545

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So far, the field of metamaterials has largely dealt with negative refractive indices in optics and invisibility cloaks (13). However, the underlying idea of designing material properties is not that narrow. More broadly, one rationally designs a subwavelength unit cell from existing constituent materials and (periodically) arranges it into an artificial solid. The properties of that solid are then determined by structure rather than chemistry and can be tailored, extreme, or even qualitatively unprecedented. Rational design is the key and makes metamaterials a rather particular class of composite materials.