Metamaterial - Rewriting the Rules for Optics
From negative refractive index material that bends light to the wrong direction at its interface, to invisibility cloaks that make things disappear from sight, the field of metamaterials has never stopped creating new wonders. Metamaterials are structured composite media that exhibit very unconventional optical properties distinct from those of each of the constituent materials. Metamaterials defy some of the rules in common optics textbooks. In contrast to photonic crystals where the lattice constant is on the scale of the wavelength, the building blocks of metamaterials are deep subwavelength, and therefore can be considered as an effective medium with well-defined local parameters. Besides the novel applications mentioned above, the flexibility in engineering the geometry of individual building blocks – so called artificial ‘atom’ or ‘molecule’, provides analogue systems for investigating interesting physics ranging from black holes in astrophysics to topological insulators in condensed matter physics. In this lecture I will talk about the recent development in the field of metamaterials, and highlight the contribution to this research area from the Metamaterial Research Centre at the University of Birmingham.