Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"Researchers have developed the first three dimensional metamaterials..."

Following up on last week's "Metamaterials May be the Next Big Thing: Gates, Allen Bet On Echodyne".
From Next Big Future:
This is a new generation of soft metamaterials that are easier to shape. In their experiment, the researchers got ultrasonic oscillations to move backwards while the energy carried by the wave moved forwards. Their work opens up new prospects, especially for high-resolution imaging (ultrasonography).

The new type of metamaterial, in the fluid phase, is formed of porous silicone microbeads embedded in a water-based gel. This metafluid is the first three-dimensional metamaterial to work at ultrasonic frequencies. In addition, due to its fluid nature, it can be made using physico-chemical processes and microfluidics technologies, which are much easier to implement than micromechanical methods.

One of the properties of porous media is that sound travels through them at very low speed (a few tens of meters per second) compared to water (1500 meters per second). Due to this sharp contrast, the whole suspension has the properties of a metamaterial provided the bead concentration is sufficient: when the researchers studied the propagation of ultrasonic waves through this medium, they directly measured a negative refractive index. Within such a metafluid, the energy carried by the wave travels from the emitter to the receiver, as expected, whereas the oscillations appear to move backwards in the opposite direction, rather like a dancer doing the 'moonwalk'....MORE
Possibly also of interest:
"The Physics Hidden by the Invisibility Cloak": Metamaterials and the Father of the Superlens