Beyond Materials: From Invisibility Cloaks to Satellite Communications

March 26, 2018

Duke-developed "metamaterials" are carefully designed structures that control all sorts of physical waves in previously impossible ways. Our researchers are poised to make these devices a household name.

By Ken Kingery

Duke website screenshot of metamaterials feature

When the editors of Physical Review Letters first received the manuscript, they immediately rejected it. Their form letter said the work didn't seem important enough to even send it out for review. The editors didn't realize that the contents would revolutionize the manipulation of electromagnetic waves that dominate today's technology.

More than a decade later, the discovery of "metamaterials" has blossomed from an imaginative proof-of-concept invisibility cloak to a handful of telecommunication companies poised to reshape the industry. But it doesn't stop at communications; a handful of faculty members at Duke University are using the concept of metamaterials to reshape all types of waves.

In a feature published on Duke Stories, learn all about how this exciting field started, and how David Smith, Steve Cummer, Willie Padilla, Maiken Mikkelsen and Natalia Litchinitser are leading the revolution.

Duke metamaterials faculty