. Space Industry and Business News .

"Negative refraction" opens avenue to new products and industries
by Staff Writers
Corvallis, OR (SPX) Feb 27, 2012

New nano-scale amorphous laminates discovered at Oregon State University are the latest advance in the control of light through solid materials, or dispersion engineering. The work is an important step toward a "super lens." (Graphic courtesy of Oregon State University).

Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered a way to make a low-cost material that might accomplish negative refraction of light and other radiation - a goal first theorized in 1861 by a giant of science, Scottish physicist James Maxwell, that has still eluded wide practical use.

Other materials can do this but they are based on costly, complex crystalline materials. A low-cost way that yields the same result will have extraordinary possibilities, experts say - ranging from a "super lens" to energy harvesting, machine vision or "stealth" coatings for seeming invisibility.

Entire new products and industries could be possible. The findings have just been published and a patent has been applied for on the technology.

The new approach uses ultra-thin, ultra-smooth, all-amorphous laminates, essentially a layered glass that has no crystal structure. It is, the researchers say, a "very high-tech sandwich."

The goal is to make radiation bend opposite to the way it does when passing through any naturally occurring material. This is possible in theory, as Maxwell penciled out during the American Civil War. In reality, it's been pretty difficult to do.

"To accomplish the task of negative refraction, these metamaterials have to be absolutely perfect, just flawless," said Bill Cowell, a doctoral candidate in the OSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. "Everyone thought the only way to do that was with perfectly crystalline materials, which are quite expensive to produce and aren't very practical for large-area commercial application.

"We now know these materials may not need to be that exotic."

The new study has explained how easy-to-produce laminate materials, created with technology similar to that used to produce a flat panel television, should work for this purpose. The findings outline the component materials and the theoretical behavior of the laminates, Cowell said. They were just published in Physica Status Solidi A, in work supported by the National Science Foundation.

"We haven't yet used this approach to achieve negative refraction, but the findings suggest it should work for that," he said. "That will be one goal of continuing research. No one had thought of using amorphous metals for this purpose. They didn't think it could be that simple."

Negative refraction, Cowell said, is a brilliant idea. It is based on the equations developed by the young physicist and mathematician Maxwell more than 150 years ago - work for which he is revered, along with Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, as one of the greatest physicists who ever lived. Einstein kept a photograph of Maxwell on his office wall.

But for generations, theory is about all that it was. Just in the past decade have researchers finally figured out how to create materials of any type that can achieve negative refraction. A way to accomplish that at low cost for the commercial marketplace could be of considerable importance, scientists say.

One application of particular interest is a "super lens," a device that might provide light magnification at levels that dwarf any existing technology. Many applications are possible in electronics manufacturing, lithography, biomedicine, insulating coatings, heat transfer, space applications, and perhaps new approaches to optical computing and energy harvesting.

The discovery of amorphous metamaterials is an outgrowth of recent findings at OSU about ways to create a metal-insulator-metal, or MIM diode, also of commercial significance. The OSU research is one of the latest advances in "dispersion engineering," or the control of electromagnetic radiation.

Related Links
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Thousands protest in Malaysia over rare earths plant
Kuantan, Malaysia (AFP) Feb 26, 2012
Thousands rallied Sunday in Malaysia in the biggest protest yet against an Australian miner's rare earths plant, as the opposition vowed to shut down the facility if it came to power. Australia's Lynas has almost completed building the plant near the seaside town of Kuantan in eastern Pahang state to process rare earth ores imported from Australia. China currently supplies about 95 perce ... read more

"Negative refraction" opens avenue to new products and industries

Thousands protest in Malaysia over rare earths plant

Nokia eyes China in smartphone comeback push

Asian mobile giants go ultra fast in race for smartphone pie

United Launch Alliance Atlas V Launches Mobile User Objective System-1 Mission

Longbow Delivers First Production Block III Apache Data Link System to US Army

Cambridge Consultants unveils ModStar radio architecture for military communications

General Dynamics Demonstrates First MUOS-based Communications on JTRS HMS Radio

Aiming For An Open Window To Launch Into Space

Sea Launch on Track to Loft Intelsat 19

NuSTAR Mated to its Rocket

Rocket to be launched from Poker Flat Research Range

Russia to Launch 2 Glonass Satellites in 2012

Cell phone hackers can track your physical location without your knowledge

LightSquared Response to FCC Public Notice

Google bypassed Apple privacy settings: researcher

Aircraft of the future could capture and re-use some of their own

Solar Impulse completes 72 hour simulated flight

Future aircraft may taxi without engines

Peru tests Green Skies fuel-saving project

Penn Researchers Build First Physical "Metatronic" Circuit

Single-atom transistor is end of Moore's Law; may be beginning of quantum computing

A step toward better electronics

Single-atom transistor is 'perfect'

Google Street View to launch in Botswana

NASA Map Sees Earth's Trees In A New Light

NASA Satellite Finds Earth's Clouds are Getting Lower

Global permafrost zones in high-resolution images on Google Earth

EU takes France to court over nitrates water pollution

China accuses US firm over child lead poisoning

Gases drawn into smog particles stay there

Development-weary Singaporeans back 'Green Corridor'

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement