In 2006 Sir John Pendry a physicist invented an ‘invisible cloak’, a nano-engineered material that could bend light waves. This heralded the the beginning of a new class of material that could manipulate the properties of light and do things previously thought impossible – metamaterials. This new material owes it’s properties more to structure than chemical composition, this structure is at a scale less than the wavelength of any waves going through it.
Since 2006 the cost to produce metamaterials was prohibitive and therefore non commercial, but now a Canadian company MTI has begun manufacturing metamaterial products. One is a transparent material that can manipulate electro-magnetic fields for real world applications. It is called metaAIR an optical filter that protects pilots from laser attacks. This is achieved through holographic exposure where lasers create hundreds of nanometre scale layers, each of which reflects a different frequency of light. In the last 4 years there has been 40,000 laser strikes which can lead to burnt retinas. It is a transparent film that can be applied to glasses or cockpit glass blocking 99.999% of harmful laser radiation.
Other applications of metamaterials are: transparent heaters, foldable mobile phone screens, transparent 5G antennas, higher efficiency solar cells and augmented reality glasses, metaboards that are part of the furniture that can charge mobile devices wirelessly.
Below are a couple of videos explaining further this new technology – enjoy !
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