Photonic metamaterials are man-made structures composed of tailored micro- or nanostructured metallodielectric subwavelength building blocks. Perfect lenses, invisibility cloaks, or metamaterials with negative refractive index are just some examples of the ideas, which the research connects with photonic metamaterials.
A systematic review of the ‘Past achievements and future challenges in the development of three-dimensional photonic metamaterials’ is now available as a preview on the website of nature photonics. (doi:10.1038/ nphoton.2011.15, published online: 17. July 2011). The two authors - Professor Martin Wegener and Professor Costas M. Soukoulis – themselves have substantially influenced the progress in this field of research with their scientific work over the past years.
Wegener developed with his staff at the DFG-Center for Functional Nanostructures (CFN), the Institute of Applied Physics (IAP), and the Institute of Nanotechnology (INT) – all on the campus of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) - the technique of 3D direct laser writing (DLW), and thus established the optical lithography of three-dimensional nanostructures. These developments in the production of metamaterials enabled the group of Wegner this year to produce the first invisibility cloak operating in the visible range of light.
Soukoulis, with chairs at the 'Department of Physics and Astronomy' on the Iowa State University, United States and the University of Crete in Greece, focuses on the development of a theoretical understanding of the characteristics of those metamaterials. He is also a senior scientist for the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory and collaborates with the Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser at the Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas in Heraklion, Greece.