What are Metamaterials?

Over the past 18 years, the science of “metamaterials” has emerged. The word metamaterial comes from the Greek word “meta”, which means “to go beyond”.

Structure of Metamaterials

Metamaterials are nanocomposite structures made up of materials—such as metals or plastics—which are engineered by Metamaterial Technologies Inc.’s (MTI) scientists to exhibit properties not found in nature. 

A “metamaterial” is commonly described as an assembly of multiple individual elements (which are sometimes referred to as meta-atoms). These meta-atoms are fashioned from conventional microscopic materials such as metals or plastics, but the materials are usually arranged in specific periodic patterns. Therefore, metamaterials gain their properties not from their composition, but from their exactingly-designed structures.

Their precise shape, geometry, size, orientation and arrangement affects electromagnetic waves of light to create material properties that are unachievable with conventional materials. Metamaterials attain the desired effects by incorporating structural elements of sub-wavelength sizes, i.e. features which are actually smaller than the wavelength of the electromagnetic waves that they affect. These structures within metamaterials are measured in nanometers (nm), just like wavelengths. Some meta-atom structures may be as small as 5 nm, or five billionths of one metre. For perspective, the thickness of a human hair is approximately 100,000 nm wide. 

Metamaterial Research

Metamaterial research focuses on structures which produce unusual and exotic electromagnetic properties; manipulating light in ways which were previously not possible in nature. Similar to the development of classical electromagnetism, metamaterial developments are expected to fundamentally alter the way the world works today.

Metamaterial Technologies Inc. is one of the first companies to move metamaterial technology from the academic community—where it has been researched over the past decade—into actual commercialization.