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More on Lenses with a Negative Index of Refraction 300

Posted by michael
from the burning-ants dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "A University of Toronto researcher has developed a flat lens that doesn't respect the "normal" laws of nature and could significantly enhance the resolution of imaged objects. "The creation of an unusual flat lens may finally resolve a long-running controversy about the existence of materials that have metaphysical qualities -- so-called "metamaterials" -- that transcend the laws of nature. The lens could lead to amplified antennas, smaller cell phones and increased data storage on CD-ROMs. As says George Eleftheriades, the Toronto professor, "This is new physics." Check this column for more details and other references to metamaterials."
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More on Lenses with a Negative Index of Refraction

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  • by heitikender (655816) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @10:52AM (#5597569) Homepage
    Maybe it's just me, but every other invention and discovery means, along the other things, smaller cellphones.
    • Maybe it's just me, but every other invention and discovery means, along the other things, smaller cellphones.

      [Will Ferrell, playing the ultra-hip proprietor of Jeffery's clothing shop on SNL, pulls out an enormous brick-sized cell phone]

      Employee: What is that?!
      Boss: Don't you know? Big is the new small! Cammy Diaz has a phone twice this big.
    • With the right metamaterials, a cell phone would have a negative size. Who knows, maybe you could even answer calls before someone calls you!
    • Well, I figure you'd need glasses with this special material too, to actually make out the individual buttons on the phone. Phones are already so small that they become difficult to use. The Nokia 8310 [nokia.nl] is already miniscule and doesn't actually weigh enough to hold comfortably in your hand. The buttons are pretty small. Pretty soon you will need a pen to peck at the buttons, cause your fingers are too large and you can't actually press one button without pressing others.

      Anyway, I can see where this could be
      • Am I the only person that likes having a phone that actually puts the mic near his mouth and the speaker near his ear, my friends cell phone is so small, I have to choose between shouting, or not hearing a damn thing, because if the speaker is at my ear, the mic is at my cheek and if the mic is at my mouth the speeker is about 2 inches below my ear. lol
  • by Rosonowski (250492) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ikswonosor]> on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @10:53AM (#5597570)
    "Lisa, in this house, we follow the laws of thermodynamics!"
  • Original article (Score:4, Informative)

    by Zayin (91850) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @10:54AM (#5597579)
    The University of Toronto has an article [utoronto.ca] about this.
  • by mrnick (108356) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @10:55AM (#5597580) Homepage
    It is impossible to transcend the laws of nature. You can only determine that your understanding of nature has changed.

    Nick Powers
    • Either that or the "laws" of nature are not laws, but merely guidelines, or emergent phenomenon.
      • by Raedwald (567500) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @11:54AM (#5597795)
        Either that or the "laws" of nature are not laws, but merely guidelines, or emergent phenomenon.

        Saying something is a 'law of nature' is to say that it is a regualrity that has been repeatedly well observed, with no relaible counter instances. And that is all. That's what the words mean. The philosopher Hume demolished [anu.edu.au] the idea of having certain knowledge about natural laws, two centuries ago. The original poster was quite correct.

        • Yup. We have to remember that science is the search for useful knowledge. Useful shortcuts for making estimates for things that can happen.

          For example, you can use the law of gravitation to estimate where a planet will be, based on its mass, speed, and the mass of the sun. However, this calculation can never be completely accurate. Because you'd also need to take into account the other planets. And asteroids. And the galaxy. And you'd need the exact speed of the planet in relation to the sun. An

          • For example, you can use the law of gravitation to estimate where a planet will be, based on its mass, speed, and the mass of the sun. However, this calculation can never be completely accurate. Because you'd also need to take into account the other planets. And asteroids. And the galaxy. And you'd need the exact speed of the planet in relation to the sun. And you'd have to take into account the sun's mass changes second by second. As does the planet's. As does everything else. And then there's intersellar

            • So, what you're saying is that if we gather all that information, then we CAN make a perfect model of planetary motion. Not saying what you say is false, you just have a weak argument for the case.

              Well, two points. One is that, due to the heisenberg uncertainty principal, you can not gather all of that information exactly
              The second is that all of these "rules" are just approximations. For example, assuming you had all that information, and used a classical newtonian model, your answer would be slight

    • Re:Pull over, bub (Score:5, Informative)

      by ianscot (591483) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @11:13AM (#5597656)
      Yeah, it's not like the universe pulls you over when you break those light-speed laws.

      The emphasis on the "flatness" of the lenses, at least on /., is misguided too. These are special materials, and the lenses are flat because they have to be owing to the properties of the materials, not the other way around.

      Heck, there are all different shapes of lens. Nikon's been out front with consumer "aspherical" lenses for a few years now, selling them in camera lenses and relatively low-end consumer binoculars. They let you simplify things like the number of elements in a camera lens, or help with distortions on the edge of the field in binoculars. Those are all curved, still, just not spherical on the edges -- but a new shape of lens isn't really much news. It's the whacky materials that make this story.

      I guess it's science reporting, so let's take what we can get.

      /shrug

      • Heh...I've got aspherical contact lenses, so that they're heavier at the bottom. This makes 'em orient the right way, so my fscked up eyes always have the propper correction in front of the correct bit of eye :)
    • They should probably be called the theories of nature. As we learn more, we refine these theories.

      Of course, then we will have the same problems that we have with the "Theory of Evolution". People will say it is not true because it is still just a theory. Breaking laws seems worse than disproving theory.
      • They should probably be called the theories of nature. As we learn more, we refine these theories.

        They should be written as general as necessary to fit _every_ occurance. i.e., instead of "creatures that don't eat die", it should be "animals that don't eat die" or "life forms that cease taking in energy enter an inanimate state, usually breaking any multicelluar bonds they may have."

        Of course, then we will have the same problems that we have with the "Theory of Evolution". People will say it is not
        • I dunno....if the human race survives another ten thousand years, we'll probably have good evidence to support a 'law' of evolution.

          But even then, it'd still be a theory. Reason being that every description man has of nature is just that: a model, which can be tightened to fit reality closer and closer, but always falls short when approaching the limit to infinity.
          • I dunno....if the human race survives another ten thousand years, we'll probably have good evidence to support a 'law' of evolution.

            We have sufficient evidence NOW to make evolution a law--as long as we don't put crap like "we all evolved from apes" in there.

            I'll even draft it for you: "In any environment, the creatures most fit for that environment will be the most successful. For any change in an environment, the creatures whose characteristics make them more fit to survive in that environment will p
    • As the Matrix (most recently) has taught us, it's all a matter of perception.
    • Y I learnt in school that refractive index = (1-v^2/c^2)^0.5 .
      Which means that if refractive index is negative then speed of light is exceeded in the material , ummm.. no the square root of a number is negative .... ????
      A bit of googling brought this [aps.org] out , which says that the rule of thumb I used is incorrect in "metamaterials".Ahh.. releif
    • So true. Far too many people misunderstand what it meant by laws of nature.

      The real, true laws of nature cannot be surpassed or broken. They are how the world really works.

      Unfortunately though, we don't know the complete laws, so what we call "laws of nature" are kinda equivalent to us not knowing anything about chess, or being told anything about chess, but deducing from observations what the rules are from observation. Every once and a while, we'll notice that we were wrong when someone castles their ki
  • could be used to focus sunlight and zap targets as well.
  • existence of materials that have metaphysical qualities

    Would those be Lenses of Clarity +2?
  • I read the summary and terms like 'predicted analytically and demonstrated through simulation' don't seem to indicate that the material is actually developed. Unfortunately I don't have a subscription so I couldn't delve further. Anyone care to see if this is just speculation or if they actually have a material that seems to have neg refractive-index properties.
    • The BS Detector (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SharpNose (132636) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @12:03PM (#5597843) Journal
      Actually, my BS detector went off in a few places in the linked article.

      "Light passing through a flat glass lens will diverge." Not on my planet, bucko.

      "'allows focusing almost two orders of magnitude higher than is possible with conventional lenses'..." Exactly what numerical quantity corresponds with "focusing?"

      "the amount of information that could be stored on optical media would be vastly increased..." I thought that was limited by the wavelength of light used to record and read the information.

      "By reversing the mathematical signs of the three main properties of all optical materials -- permittivity, permeability and refractive index -- Veselago showed that light going one way in normal materials would reverse direction in metamaterials." 1) Sure, if I start flipping signs in long-accepted equations that describe phenomena in the natural world, I can come up with all kinds of breakthroughs - antigravity, to say the least! 2) But if I set up a conventional refractive/reflective (I specifically omit "diffractive") optical system of any sort, can't I also run the light the other way identically?

      Now, I think I recall an article in Scientific American some time back about structures made up of nanoantennae whose macroscopic optical properties were counterintuitive, but I don't think what I'm reading here speaks to that.
      • Re:The BS Detector (Score:2, Informative)

        by Steve525 (236741)
        Actually, all the quotes you pulled are correct, in a manner of speaking...

        "Light passing through a flat glass lens will diverge." - Light passing through a flat glass most certainly will diverge, just like light passing through air diverges. Refraction (such as in a curved glass surface), and diffraction (such as in a hologram) can be used to refocus or make light converge.

        "allows focusing almost two orders of magnitude higher than is possible with conventional lenses'..." - This one does have a bit of
        • There are some explinations to be made when we get to Snell's law. One of the links said Snell's law would be "reversed" but I'm seeing it more as being "obliterated".

          sin(theta1)/sin(theta2)

          = sqrt(e1/e2) "imaginary"
          = n1/n2 "negative"
          = z1/z2 "positive"

          So where is Snell's law "reversed" here? You get three equalities of different nature (positive,negative,complex). This calculation is for oblique incidence, and theta1 is taken to be the refraction angle from normal, theta2 is
      • personally, i had trouble with the article saying that all "normal" (which sounded like positive refractive index) lenses are curved.
        it was my understanding that a flat lens can be just as functional as a curved lens as long as the index of refraction is correctly distributed. what matters is path length difference, not simply length difference, and path length depends on index of refraction.
        of course they could have meant "normal" as in simply cut from a chunk of material that was the same throughout,
    • What about this paragraph:

      "We have constructed and tested a 'left-handed' metamaterial lens based on a unique technique that has been pioneered at the University of Toronto," Eleftheriades said. "Our article is the first to report on experiments that demonstrate focusing using 'left-handed' metamaterials." (Emphasis added)

  • by YetAnotherName (168064) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @11:00AM (#5597612) Homepage
    Now you can finally quit your job at 7-11 and start earning a decent income applying all of the metaphysics you studied in college in the new field of metamaterials!
    • I wish! Unfortunately, their use of the term metaphysics is in fact an abuse. The properties aren't metaphysical, because they can be explained in terms of electromagnetics. What they mean is that they are extra-metarial, as the effects aren't created by the curvature of the material.
  • metaphysics my ass (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sstory (538486) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @11:09AM (#5597643) Homepage
    New technology does not equal 'metaphysical' devices. That's a stupid and confusing use of the word. And do you really mean to tell me that anything which isn't completely understood 'violates the known laws of physics'? Take a valium.
  • Right now if you get the bad news that you have cancer, they may deside the best option is to treat it with a radiation treatment. This involves using a high energy beam to bore a hole completley through you that should contain the offending cells. What needs to be researched is a way of using holography to just radiate the bad cells. Maybe this tech may allow that conecpt to be considered.
    • One organization makes a robotically controlled radiation delivery "laser" that does effectively that by continuously moving around your body: It aims at the tumor constantly, but only spends a very small percentage of time on any other area of the body, hence the total radiation to the tumor is very high, while the destruction of healthy cells is limited.

      Hearing about that product I imagine that that is a really cool and noble software development pursuit.
    • Right now if you get the bad news that you have cancer, they may deside the best option is to treat it with a radiation treatment. This involves using a high energy beam to bore a hole completley through you that should contain the offending cells.

      Methods of using multiple beams at different angles to reduce the dose to healthy tissues go back to the 1960's. Perhaps with X-ray lasers, a holographic approach could be used to get the beam intensity to "cancel out" over healthy tissue. But I'm not sure how

  • Oh Good Grief! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by orac2 (88688) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @11:10AM (#5597651)
    'Metamaterials" are not "metaphysical", in the same way that metainformation is not inherently metaphysical. Meta is--say it with me people--just a prefix meaning (from the jargon file) "one level up" or if you prefer (from websters) "between, with, after, behind, over, about, reversely".

    Metamaterials are carefully constructed arrangements of regular materials, whose properties combine to produce behaviours that no "pure" material can duplicate, including negative indexes of refraction.

    This should not be a surprising concept to anyone who is aware that, for example, atoms can combine form metatoms (so-called "molecules") that have all kinds of properties not found when dealing with pure elements -- and yet the laws of nature survive!

    There is no transcending the laws of nature going on here.
    • Just like MetaCrawler can find results no other search engine can. Seriously though, this is just a case of bad naming and good engineering. Think about an animal - a metaorganism that moves on its own! No transcendence of nature's laws, just complexity theory at work.

    • Metamaterials are carefully constructed arrangements of regular materials, whose properties combine to produce behaviours that no "pure" material can duplicate, including negative indexes of refraction.
      Just out of curiousity, does anyone know if photonic bandgap materials are considered to be a subset of metamaterials? My intuition says yes, but my intuition is often wrong...
    • by cygnus (17101) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @12:12PM (#5597873) Homepage
      a little etymology:

      the term 'metaphysics' comes from aristotle, who placed all his books on a shelf in a particular order. those that were about what we call 'metaphysics' were next to his books on physics. hence, 'metaphysics' originally meant 'next to physics.'

      • the term 'metaphysics' comes from aristotle, who placed all his books on a shelf in a particular order. those that were about what we call 'metaphysics' were next to his books on physics.

        Close! It was Andronicus of Rhodes (Aristole's first editor) who put Aristole's book on what-we-now-call-Metaphysics after the book on Physics in his compilation. 'meta' means 'after' in Greek.

      • Uh...I think it actually refers a bit more to Aristotle's book of the same title...namely 'Metaphysika'.
    • I agree, and I'd add that this entire use of "meta" implying that we're beyond materials in some way is bogus to me. We're not transcending materials either.

      The source of the ingredients to make these products may need to be manufactured in a highly controlled process, but the source isn't something "one level up" from matter. "Metamaterials" is simply a marketing name for the constructed output. How is this different than other man-made materials?

      Using "meta" implies there is some sort of hierarchy to
  • What about smaller glasses?

    Nobody in science ever thinks of the common man anymore. The common man whose nose can't carry the weight of his own binoculars, let alone find his smaller cell phone without the use of additional heavyweight contact lenses!

    What is wrong with you people?!

    8-P
    • What about smaller glasses? Nobody in science ever thinks of the common man anymore.

      To paraphrase David Spade: it's called Lasik. Look into it.
      • Re:smaller glasses? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by vidarh (309115)
        And for the people who have problems with too heavy glasses Lasik is unlikely to be an option. My gf is one of them - she spends a fortune getting her lenses halved, and even then they look quite thick at the edges. If she'd gone for glass lenses they'd be unbearably heavy. The thickness of the lenses also means she have to go for thicker (and heavier) frames to keep the lenses from falling out.

        For her Lasik is getting within reach, but still carries a significant risk of further loss of vision and is unl

      • Doesn't work for all eye-problems...there is no silver bullet. I need extra bit's of material, not less, to fix my eye problems :(
  • by isdnip (49656) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @11:14AM (#5597659)
    The original UToronto release talks about evanescent waves, apparently a fairly critical part of the equation, and leads to the conclusion that the laws of physics are not actually being broken. Rather, the whole idea is that it is possible to create a lens with a negative index of refraction without anything exceeding the speed of light. Fancy footwork, yes, and perhaps still only a theoretical possibility rather than product nearly ready for sale. But not quite as dramatic as it sounds.
  • Sensationalistic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Omnifarious (11933) <eric-slashNO@SPAMomnifarious.org> on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @11:15AM (#5597662) Homepage Journal

    I hate it when science discoveries are reported in that uber-hyped style. It so obscures what the real finding actually is. It looks like they have something here, but in between the whole 'transcend the laws of nature' garbage and the 'this is so fantastic and revolutionary it will change absolutely everything' garbage, it's hard to see what they actually have.

  • U o T Press Release (Score:3, Informative)

    by pcb (125862) <peter,c,bradley&gmail,com> on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @11:16AM (#5597665) Homepage
    The U o T press release with a bit more info can be found here [utoronto.ca].

    -PCB
  • by xeeno (313431) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @11:21AM (#5597687) Homepage
    Anyone that has had a high school physics class or a few semesters of introductory physics in college remembers snell's law and that infernal little quantity called 'n' that describes the characteristics of the material with respect to light. What they don't tell you in those classes is that you aren't even getting half of the picture.
    Initially, you see n defined as c/v, where v is the speed of light in the material. Since v is less than c (always) this number is always greater than 1 except for vacuum. This is where the 'wierd science' part comes is, and the fact that you're only getting a fraction of the picture. In reality, n has both real and imaginary parts - the imaginary part decribes the 'folding' or how much the wave magnitude decays in the medium over distance and time. For example, if you took something that measured the intensity of light outside in the sunlight and compared it to the intensity of light behind a window in a house, the intensity *inside* would be less because the glass absorbs a certain amount of energy of the light as it passes through. As you can see, this 'n' thing is a little more complicated than what you learned initially in high school and college - end result, well, they sorta lied to you. In fact, the above is just scraping the barrel because you're still trying to give physical credence to a mathematical model.
    The 'bad science' comes from putting too much faith in what the math really means. Guys, math is just a tool to *model* reality. If you put too much credence in it you start to think that stuff like virtual particles and feynman diagrams are real. They aren't. They're a tool used by physicists to get an answer that agrees with experiment. For more info on negative index of refraction stuff look at what these guys [ucsd.edu] did, and also look here [aip.org] for a little more info.
    Not that it isn't cool to hope that things go faster than light and that we're just getting part of the picture...
    • "Anyone that has had a high school physics class or a few semesters of introductory physics in college..."

      If you regard these as equivalent, I've gotta ask, where did you go to college? Or maybe the better question would be, where did you go to high school?
  • How can you tell when you are talking about this "metaphysics" and the other, more commonly used "metaphysics" that are related to occultism, mysticism and things like that?

    Clarke proves again that he was right when said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"

    • Context. The term metaphysics is obviously an overloaded word. Originally used in 350 B.C. by Aristotle it meant, "after Physics", as in the book I wrote after I wrote my book called 'Physics'. Now it's mostly used to refer to religious (occultism and mysticism are just religions you don't beleive in) or philosophical ideas. As others have pointed out here, metaphysics as used in articles like this one is typically a misnomer, used by someone who doesn't understand physics or science too well.
  • I thought those could only be made on Arisia? Guess we have reached the third stage of stabilization, and civilization will cover the entire galaxy.
  • More info (Score:5, Informative)

    by Steve525 (236741) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @11:37AM (#5597735)
    For those scratching their heads at this one, maybe I can help. (I'm not an expert in this field, but I do related work).

    First off, the article mentions three properties: permittivity, permeability and refractive index. To keep the discussion simple, lets only consider refractive index, which is negative here.

    So what does that mean? It in some sense it means that light is traveling backward in such a material. Not in the reflected sense of backward, but in the time reversal sense. For example, lets say you have light from a light bulb incident on such a material. In air, the light is divergerging (spreading out) from the light bulb. When the light enters this material, it no longer is diverging, but it is instead now converging.

    It's certainly not hard to think of a different way of making light converge: use a lens. Indeed, at first glance a material with a negative index of refraction would seem to act very much like a lens. However there are some important differences.

    In particular, lets say you wanted to make a very small spot of light (useful for reading CD's, or making IC's). A lens can at best focus light down to a spot roughly equal to the size of the wavelength of light. (This is why blue lasers are wanted for advanced CD/DVD's: shorter wavelength gives a smaller spot which gives greater density). A material with a negative index can get around this limitation.

    How? There is one conventional way of making a spot of light smaller than the wavelength. That's by simply using a pinhole (or a capillary, which is esentially a pinhole with a funnel to push more light through pinhole). The problem with a pinhole, is the small spot of light only exists in the plane of the pinole. The light diverges very quickly so it's hard to do anything useful with it. (There is some interest in doing near field microscopy this way). However, if you had some of this magic material, you could recreate the small spot in a different plane. (You can't do this with a lense because it is impossible to capture the entire wavefront exiting the pinhole. This material has no such limitation - you can put this material right up against the pinhole).

    This explains why this material might be interesting for CD technology. I have no idea about the other applications they mention.
    • So this can't be used by my minions to construct a dimensionally transcendental vehicle for passing through Time And Relative Dimensions In Space and disguise it as a retro-looking Police Box from England?

      Damn.

      Thanks for the explaination, by the way. I had some idea of the physical behaviors being described, but I had not reached the point of being able to surmise applications for it. very interesting indeed.
  • What the hell!? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by autopr0n (534291) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @11:46AM (#5597765) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure this lenses is real, but the submitter is hopelessly confused about the laws of nature and metaphysics. For one thing, metaphysics doesn't really have much to do with real physics at all, but rather refers to thinking about the nature of reality. Questions like "does god exist", "What makes something 'true'", "how can paradoxes exit" etc. Something that violates the laws of nature is supernatural.

    And secondly, nothing can violate the laws of physics anyway. If something can't be explained by physics, then it means our theories are wrong, not the thing is 'supernatural' or whatever. Geez.

    And to think, my great post about using enzymes to create electricity rather then expensive fuel cells got deleted.

  • Hey dudes: depending on your time zone, April first is still at least four days away. Please give us a break save your metaphysical metamaterials till the day officially set asside for them.

    -- MarkusQ

  • We may not completly understand the laws of nature and there are obviously things that transcend our understanding of the laws of nature, but the laws of nature by definition can not be transcended.
  • by EdMcMan (70171)
    I always thought lenses were only used for optical things.. they can be used for waves too?

    The lens could lead to amplified antennas, smaller cell phones and increased data storage on CD-ROMs.

  • The index of refraction is the ratio of the speed of light in a substance relative to the speed of light in vacuum. Special relativity is violated if the index of refraction has an absolute value less than one. While it is new for a material to have a negative index of refraction, this doesn't violate any fundamental laws of physics. It just means that light bends the wrong way when it passes from one medium to another.
  • Since an N.I.R. means negative light velocity or light going backwards. This could make the perfect headlights for French military vehicles that only "retreat" anyways.


    (troll)
  • ...and Physicists are terrible at English. Seriously guys, put down the calculator and look up some of the words you are using; you are starting to sound like Dubya (He misunderestimated my mathematical abilities!). Once they start reporting that "the discovery filled me with shock and awe and sent me into a regime of extreme delight" I'm gonna start waving a gun around. :-)

    Seriously though, just because Joe Physics "proved" something with a number of complex mathematical conjectures and theories 20 year
  • This article [utoronto.ca] is from the University of Toronto.

    I have to say I was really skeptical when I read about this...
  • These stories are the most sensationalistic crap I've read in a long while.

    Here's a (only slightly dumbed down) better explanation: http://physics.ucsd.edu/~drs/left_home.htm [ucsd.edu]
    • Please mod parent up (I can't since I've already posted to the thread.)

      This link is the one that should have been included in the article, instead of all those stupid repetitions of a particularly stupid press release written by someone who clearly couldn't be bothered to read anything about the subject, or have someone else check their work. [pardon the rant. It pisses me off when people who are getting paid to write informative press releases write disinformative crap instead-- especially when its obviou

  • ...of a material science class I took where we studied compounds that expand against the direction of an applied force. If such a material were to be written up by the popular media, I'm sure it would begin "In a feat that goes against the laws of Nature..." If it exists in Nature, it certainly doesn't break those laws, but this type of (non)thinking does result in a much nicer journalistic hook.
  • that this "lens" is made of copper [physicsweb.org]?

    Granted, they may have found a left-hand rule for electromagnetic radiation, but doesn't a material need to let light pass through it in order for its refractive index to mean anything? And last time i saw see-through copper, i was shrooming. ;-)
    To me, what seems most interesting about this is that it has the properties of negative electric permittivity and permeability.
    If i'm missing something, please explain, but how would a material made of "ordinary" copper rings and

  • If you want better coverage, try Physics News Update #628 [aip.org]


    The 'transcendence' is an artifact of the NewsFactor writer who clearly misunderstood what was being said.

  • Of course, the real question is what will this thing become known as? The Canadian Lense? Or The Freedom Lense?
  • It's been a while since my Optics 101 class, but if memory serves, the index of refraction can change if the density of the material changes. So, if the density is larger at the edges of a surface than at the center, light would focus through it even though the lens was flat.

    Are metamaterials homogenous?
  • i've noticed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sstory (538486) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @01:22PM (#5598340) Homepage
    I've noticed in the last few months that Slashdot's science coverage is going downhill. Good things go unmentioned, while crap like 'metaphysical' materials gets posted. Better refresh. Probably got a new story up about free energy or time travel. Or maybe one about creationism being correct, while we're at it.
    • I've noticed in the last few months that Slashdot's science coverage is going downhill. Good things go unmentioned, while crap like 'metaphysical' materials gets posted. Better refresh. Probably got a new story up about free energy or time travel. Or maybe one about creationism being correct, while we're at it.

      And I've noticed that posters with login ID numbers which are over 500,000 are prone to sounding like commercially fabricated idiots who still believe what their high school text books told them.

      T
  • This is just an uprising of disgruntled left-handed physicists against the oppression of the "right-hand rule"
  • I know that the reason that we have to use electron microscopes to take "images" of anything smaller than a cell is because that's the point at which the wavelength of visible light becomes larger than the item that we're attempting to focus on, and therefore not enough of the visible light waves bounce off of, say, an atom for an image to be created. Altho I doubt that it would be the case, is it possible that these lenses will allow us to overcome this restriction? Anyone with a better grounding in the
  • Come on. You don't "transcend" the laws of nature. You rewrite the laws (theories) of man.

  • For Slashdotters at universities or other institutions that have an institutional subscription to Applied Physics Letters, here is the original scientific paper [aip.org] that's mentioned in the articles.
  • I do not see any reference to any material
    actually being mentioned in the APL article.
    In fact the APL article is merely a simulation
    on a computer for some idealized transmission
    line. Does anyone have a reference to actual
    experimental evidence, assuming it exists?
  • Here's the prof's page:

    http://www.waves.utoronto.ca/prof/gelefth/main.ht m l [utoronto.ca]

    Here's the prof's publications list; the paper that these press articles are about is right at the top.

    http://www.waves.utoronto.ca/prof/gelefth/jpub/ind ex.html [utoronto.ca]

    The device he wrote the paper about works in the millimetre-wave regime, if I understand correctly (a bit above microwaves). It's relatively easy to build negative-index materials here, because you can do it by building oddly-shaped configurations of wires that inte
  • If this material is ever constructed, I wonder if it would allow for much more powerful but smaller telescopes.

    I believe that some negative refractive index lens had been made that worked for microwaves. I wonder if that would allow for much higher resolution microwave astronomy.

  • I just love how the sentence "this discovery transcends known laws of physics" is immediately followed up by "it could lead to smaller cell phones"!

    Ok, I don't actually love it. Quite the opposite, really.
  • From the article, it's evident that they haven't actually *CONSTRUCTED* said lenses, only simulated them with what, to their understanding, are mathematical models consistent with reality.

    I'll believe it once they've got something real and working, a physical object that performs to those specifications. Until then, it's just another vapourware idea.

  • Pons and Fleischmann say it enhances cold fusion, too!

  • It's clear from all of the referenced articles that this technology is so far only being explored with microwave radiation. That has wavelength on the order of centimeters and so we can easily create material with special structures of that size in order to get this peculiar negative effect. That's why the "lenses" are made of copper, etc.

    All the talk about light and refraction refers to the microwave bands of the EM spectrum, which are down a bit from the visible light band. The same basic principles o
  • break the laws of nature, only redefine our understanding of nature.
  • Here are the papers (Score:3, Informative)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @01:32PM (#5608320) Homepage Journal
    If you want to go beyond the media, then you might want to check out the papers [utoronto.ca] by George V. Eleftheriades. BTW the article has a bad URL for the University of Toronto, is should be http://www.utoronto.ca [utoronto.ca].

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