Skip to main content

Who Says Perfectionism is a Bad Quality?

Scientists have created the first metamaterial made solely of metallic elements, that is able to absorb all the light that hits it with perfection. Metamaterials are artificially constructed materials that have extraordinary properties and are revolutionizing physics, especially in the fields of optics and electromagnetism.

While natural materials use light in a limited number of ways, manmade metamaterials gain their unusual properties from their structure (rather than their composition) and can be developed to have properties beyond those of nature, allowing humans to control light in ways that were previously impossible. The metamaterial engineered by scientists from Duke University and Boston College has a particular geometric surface, which allows it to completely absorb microwaves.

Using computer simulations based on previous data, researchers created the metamaterial by designing resonators capable of individually joining to electric and magnetic components of an electromagnetic wave.

Ultimately, structure (how its molecules and atoms are arranged) alone allows the metamaterial to absorb all the light instead of reflecting or transmitting it. The actual material doesn't play a major role in how the metamaterial controls the light that it comes in contact with. However, because this metamaterial is composed of purely metallic elements, it is flexible enough to be highly favorable in applications related to light detection and collection.


Popular Posts

How 4,000 Physicists Gave a Vegas Casino its Worst Week Ever

What happens when several thousand distinguished physicists, researchers, and students descend on the nation’s gambling capital for a conference? The answer is "a bad week for the casino"—but you'd never guess why.

Ask a Physicist: Phone Flash Sharpie Shock!

Lexie and Xavier, from Orlando, FL want to know: "What's going on in this video ? Our science teacher claims that the pain comes from a small electrical shock, but we believe that this is due to the absorption of light. Please help us resolve this dispute!"

The Science of Ice Cream: Part One

Even though it's been a warm couple of months already, it's officially summer. A delicious, science-filled way to beat the heat? Making homemade ice cream. (We've since updated this article to include the science behind vegan ice cream. To learn more about ice cream science, check out The Science of Ice Cream, Redux ) Image Credit: St0rmz via Flickr Over at Physics@Home there's an easy recipe for homemade ice cream. But what kind of milk should you use to make ice cream? And do you really need to chill the ice cream base before making it? Why do ice cream recipes always call for salt on ice?