A study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, The University of Texas at Austin and University of Sannio in Italy, shows that metamaterials can be designed to do “photonic calculus” by acting like an analog computer. A light wave, when described in terms of space and time, has a profile that can be thought of as a curve on a Cartesian plane. The researchers’ theoretical material can perform a specific mathematical operation on that wave’s profile, such as finding its first or second derivative, as the light wave passes through the material. Here, Penn researcher Nader Engheta explains what metamaterials are, how they’re construction, and how they can manipulate electromagnetic waves like nothing found in nature. Available on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lK4RQr7RICY.
Credit: Kurtis Sensenig, University of Pennsylvania