Transforming light

V. M. Shalaev, Birck Nanotechnology Center and School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University

Date of this Version


This document has been peer-reviewed.



Recent advances in micro- and nanofabrication methods are presenting opportunities to control light in a way that is not possible with the materials provided to us by nature. Synthetic structures built up from subwavelength elements can now be fabricated with a desired spatial distribution of effective electric permittivity ε and magnetic permeability μ, thereby offering the potential to guide and control the flow of electromagnetic energy in an engineered optical space. These “metamaterials” have opened the door to a number of applications that had been previously considered impossible. No longer are we constrained by the electromagnetic response of natural materials and their chemical compounds. Instead, we can tailor the shape and size of the structural unit of the metamaterial and tune their composition and morphology to provide new functionality.