What are Metamaterials

Metamaterials are 3D structures made of metals, plastics, and/or ceramics which have properties not possible with only their unstructured constituent materials.

Their properties occur in response to an external input such as exposure to light, mechanical forces or sound waves. Metamaterial properties result from designed and engineered features deliberately and systematically placed within it which are of a size, quantity, distribution and structure such that the response is on a scale larger than that of the individual designed elements.

A metasurface is a 2D version of a metamaterial where the structural elements are confined to a 2D plane.

The ‘Metamaterials’ topic is inherently interdisciplinary, spanning advanced materials (plasmonics, active materials, RF, high index contrast, 2D materials, phase change materials, transparent conductive oxides, soft materials), theoretical physics, quantum physics, chemistry, biology, engineering (mechanical and electrical), acoustics, computer sciences (e.g. artificial intelligence, high performance computing), and robotics.

In terms of applications, metamaterials have phenomenal potential, in important areas, from energy to ICT, defence & security, aerospace, and healthcare. Numerous market research studies predict very significant growth over the next decade, for example, by 2030 the metamaterial device market is expected to reach a value of over $10bn (Lux Research 2019).