Transforming the optical landscape

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Science  01 May 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6234, pp. 521-524
DOI: 10.1126/science.1261244

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Electromagnetism provides us with some of the most powerful tools in science, encompassing lasers, optical microscopes, magnetic resonance imaging scanners, radar, and a host of other techniques. To understand and develop the technology requires more than a set of formal equations. Scientists and engineers have to form a vivid picture that fires their imaginations and enables intuition to play a full role in the process of invention. It is to this end that transformation optics has been developed, exploiting Faraday’s picture of electric and magnetic fields as lines of force, which can be manipulated by the electrical permittivity and magnetic permeability of surrounding materials. Transformation optics says what has to be done to place the lines of force where we want them to be.

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