Metamaterials: The Next Industrial Revolution
Electromagnetic metamaterials are artificial materials made of “molecules” that can be tailored to show properties not available in other materials—for example, negative refraction slabs or invisibility cloaking shells. They have helped advance multiple frontiers of science over the past two decades, and the 21st century will likely see them spark a second industrial revolution.
Most metamaterial structures and devices are static in time, meaning their states are fixed. Making them dynamic (changeable over time) gives them an extra dimension (time), diversifying their properties and expanding their potential uses. Dr. Christophe Caloz, Canada Research Chair in Electromagnetic Metamaterials, is exploring a host of novel related metamaterials.
To increase the diversity and potential of these metamaterials, Caloz relies on physicomimetics (a process whereby metamaterials mimic existing physics while offering extra properties, thanks to their “tailorable” nature) and multi-scale/physics concepts (which involves adapting metamaterials to offer more benefits by combining them with millimetre-, micrometre-, nanometre-, molecular-, or atomic-scale substances that show useful physical properties on their own). This research requires a multidisciplinary approach, because it incorporates aspects of electromagnetics, optics, condensed matter physics, classical and quantum electrodynamics, material sciences, and chemistry.
The devices and systems developed in Caloz’s laboratory are highly varied and have potential applications in many different fields. They include metasurfaces for tomorrow’s terahertz instrumentation and sensing systems; magnet-free nonreciprocal and highly sensitive nonlinear structures for next-generation electronic, terahertz and photonic sensors; antennas and wireless transmissions; phasers for real-time signal processing; and generalized space-time processors for myriad applications across the entire electromagnet spectrum.