Much has been said about metamaterials lately. And it is not for less, since they have enormous potential to improve the technical capacities of the industry in the coming years. In this post we analyze what exactly these compounds are, what are their most important properties and what they can be used for.
What are metamaterials?
Metamaterials are a heterogeneous set of artificial materials that have special electromagnetic characteristics, different from the qualities of the substances that compose them naturally. The resulting properties arise as a consequence of the geometry and organization of the final structure, as well as the formula for joining its different elements.
Thus, metamaterials can be perfectly formed from conventional materials that are easy to find in any natural environment, but the key to obtaining extraordinary qualities from these compounds is an intelligent and innovative design, which makes them behave in an absolutely amazing way.
Properties of metamaterials
Within this group, there is a great variety of attributes and differences between one and the other, hence the difficulty of establishing a precise definition of these compounds. Even so, we can highlight some of the properties of the most spectacular metamaterials:
Due to their peculiar optical capabilities (wavelength shorter than visible light), metamaterials can be invisible. So far there is nothing that is out of the ordinary, but the incredible thing is that they also have enough potential to make the substances with which they interact invisible. This means that, when placing a layer of the metamaterial on an object, this will let light pass through and only what is behind it will be seen.
Another consequence of the complex structures of some metamaterials is their ability to control sound. In fact, located between the source that produces it and the possible receiver, they can suppress or amplify the arrival of certain ultrasound waves.
Negative electrical permittivity and magnetic permeability
The so-called left-handed metamaterials are compounds with negative electrical permittivity and magnetic permeability. Thanks to this, they have a negative refractive index and special conditions for the propagation of external electromagnetic fields.
Main utilities of metamaterials
First of all, before starting to talk about the possible usefulness of metamaterials, it should be made clear that this is an area in full development, which is still in its initial research phases and that involves complex manufacturing processes based on everything in nanotechnology.
That said, the range of possible uses for metamaterials is quite wide. For example, there are high hopes in the military industry regarding its ability to modify the visibility of objects, in order to apply it in defense, surveillance and camouflage tasks.
This potential to generate invisibility is also intended to be applied in the fashion and aesthetics industry for the design of transparent garments and advanced beauty treatments. Likewise, it could be used in the automotive industry to correct blind spots or blind spots in car mirrors, increasing safety on the roads.
On the other hand, another foreseeable utility of metamaterials is the manufacture of high resolution optical lenses and cameras, as well as much more specific medical imaging equipment. In the same way, the possibility of shaping the electromagnetic behavior of these compounds opens up new avenues for the installation of more powerful and precise telecommunications antennas.
These are just some of the possible uses of metamaterials. Given its extraordinary properties, it is possible to think that, in the near future, its use will be a widespread reality among companies to provide increasingly advanced and efficient products to the market. We invite you to continue visiting our blog if you want to stay informed about the latest technological developments in the industrial sector.