Low-Loss Plasmonic Metamaterials

Alexandra Boltasseva, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University
Harry A. Atwater, California Institute of Technology

Date of this Version



Science 21 Jan 2011: Vol. 331, Issue 6015, pp. 290-291


Metamaterials (MMs) are artificial, engineered materials with rationally designed compositions and arrangements of nanostructured building blocks. These materials can be tailored for almost any application because of their extraordinary response to electromagnetic, acoustic, and thermal waves that transcends the properties of natural materials (13). The astonishing MM-based designs and demonstrations range from a negative index of refraction, focusing and imaging with sub-wavelength resolution, invisibility cloaks, and optical black holes to nanoscale optics, data processing, and quantum information applications (3). Metals have traditionally been the material of choice for the building blocks, but they suffer from high resistive losses—even metals with the highest conductivities, silver and gold, exhibit excessive losses at optical frequencies that restrict the development of devices in this frequency range. The development of new materials for low-loss MM components and telecommunication devices is therefore required.


Nanoscience and Nanotechnology