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£4.9 million to develop metamaterials for 'invisibility cloaks' and 'perfect lenses'
Date:11/14/2009

Research into designing and building unique 'metamaterials' has received a 4.9 million funding boost from The Leverhulme Trust, it is announced today. Metamaterials can be used for invisibility 'cloaking' devices, sensitive security sensors that can detect tiny quantities of dangerous substances, and flat lenses that can be used to image tiny objects much smaller than the wavelength of light.

The new grant has been made to a team of Imperial College London scientists and engineers, who, in collaboration with scientists at the University of Southampton, will develop new applications for metamaterials that can bend, control and manipulate light and other kinds of electromagnetic waves. Metamaterials is a new, emerging field of science lying at the borders of physics and materials science. The concept relies not on clever chemistry, which is normally used to create new materials, but instead on creating clever patterns on the surface of existing materials, particularly metals.

The new grant is one of two The Leverhulme Trust is awarding for 'embedding emerging disciplines'. The project team is led by two of Imperial College London's Professors: Sir John Pendry, a world-leading physicist and pioneer in the field, who first proposed that metamaterials could be used to build an invisibility 'cloak' in 2006, and Professor Stefan Maier who is a leading experimentalist in the field of plasmonics. Also collaborating in the Project is Professor Nikolay Zheludev's team at the University of Southampton.

Sir John says that the new grant will help British universities to develop real-world metamaterial applications based on his theories, including the much-coveted optical invisibility cloak, which would render an object invisible to the human eye:

"We've shown that an optical invisibility cloak is theoretically possible: the big challenge now is to build it. This is just one of the many extremely exciting potential uses of metamaterials t
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Contact: Danielle Reeves
danielle.reeves@imperial.ac.uk
44-207-594-2198
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

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