‘Photonic Doping’ of Metamaterials

Wikimedia

Wikimedia

Metamaterials are a fascinating new field of study. The creation of materials with unique electromagnetic properties has many applications, but can be a difficult goal to achieve. It requires the meticulous combination of numerous materials under very specific circumstances; the smallest error or miscalculation can spell disaster for the whole experiment. Each precision is known as an inclusion, and metamaterials normally require many inclusions. But now, scientists have created a new way to create metamaterials — with considerably less fuss.

Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have worked out how to make new metamaterials with just a single inclusion. This makes the metamaterials far easier to fabricate, and opens up a whole new world of creation for engineers. The secret to this new technique comes from the concept of ‘electronic doping.’ This entails adding foreign atoms to an otherwise pure material to change the electronic and optical properties of said material.

In this case, it’s called ‘photonic doping.’ Scientists add a photonic object to the host structure. This causes a variety of changes in the optical scattering of the original material. Engineers then steer the scattered waves in the directions they want. This allows them to construct metamaterials in a much simpler and more effective way.

However, this doesn’t apply to all metamaterials; this phenomenon only works with host structures that have permittivity. Permittivity applies to the electrical response of a material. Without it, photonic doping simply won’t work.

Despite this complication, photonic doping remains a remarkably simple and effective way to go about creating new metamaterials. The items used for photonic doping are relatively easy to fabricate, meaning scientists can attain them with relative ease.

And photonic doping is about more than mere metamaterials; the process has some fascinating implications for telecommunications . The technique of steering waves could have a powerful effect on how we communicate and transmit information. It’s an intriguing idea, and metamaterials are just the beginning.

About The Author

Lauren Saccone has been a freelance writer for over 15 years. Her work has appeared in Pacific Standard, The Mary Sue, Parade Magazine, Miles Away, DailyLounge, Inquisitr, Hello Giggles, Bust, and various other outlets. A professional copywriter and SEO specialist, she is a graduate of Eugene Lang College: The New School in New York City.

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