A new study from the
Researchers have devised a strikingly simple method of producing materials which bend light the “wrong” way – a significant development as lenses with minimal distortion can be made from flat slabs of these negatively-refracting materials. In technological fields where lenses are key components, such as telecommunications, microwave engineering and optical engineering, negatively-refracting materials which can be cheaply produced are expected to have a revolutionary impact.
Although scientists have sought to minimize lens distortion for centuries, it is only within the past five years that the production of near-perfect lenses has become a realistic possibility. Progress has been made possible with the recent creation of negatively-refracting materials which enable rays of light, passing from one material to another, to bend in the opposite direction to that described in conventional physics textbooks.
However, these negatively-refracting materials are difficult and costly to produce, as they involve complex assemblies of intricately-shaped conducting components embossed on non-conducting platforms. A study by Dr. Tom Mackay, of the
The new study, reported in Microwave and Optical Technology Letters, shows that rather than creating complex and costly microelectronic devices, negatively-refracting materials can instead be produced by simply blending two granular substances together. Neither of the two granular substances can refract negatively by itself. However, the study predicts that a homogeneous mixture of these two substances can refract negatively, provided the relative properties and proportions of the substances are chosen appropriately.
Dr. Tom Mackay, of the