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Penn research helps lay out theory for metamaterials that act as an analog computer
Date:1/9/2014

"When we do edge detection on an image now with currently available image processing techniques, we do it digitally, pixel by pixel," Engheta said. "We scan an image and compare all of the neighboring pixels, and where there is a big difference between two, we label it an edge. With this computational metamaterial in the future, hopefully we will be able to do it all at once. The light from the image itself could go in and the edge-detected profile could come out the other side."

"Thanks to recent advances in nanotechnology," said Andrea Al, Associate Professor and David & Doris Lybarger Endowed Faculty Fellow at The University of Texas at Austin, "today we are able to control light propagation through a material in unprecedented ways, and realize material functionalities that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. In this paper, we set the stage to have metamaterials realize a broad set of mathematical operations for us on-the-fly, as light propagates through them."

Future research will entail constructing and testing these computational metamaterials in laboratory settings. If successful, the researchers will draw up plans for metamaterials that can perform other mathematical operations, or even solve equations. By encoding the input wave with a mathematical function, then feeding the outgoing wave back to the input, the intervening metamaterial would ultimately produce a wave that would reveal the desired variables within that function.


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Contact: Evan Lerner
elerner@upenn.edu
215-573-6604
University of Pennsylvania
Source:Eurekalert  

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