The term “metamaterials” burst into the mainstream science news lexicon nearly 15 years ago when a Duke-led research team made the world’s first invisibility cloak. Unable to help themselves from drawing parallels to Harry Potter and Star Trek, the national media quickly caught onto the story and thrust the emerging field into the limelight.
It didn’t matter that the prototype device looked more like a steering wheel than a fashionable piece of clothing. It didn’t matter that it only worked in two dimensions. It didn’t matter that it only worked for microwaves, which are much larger and easier to control than visible light waves.
A new field had been born.