How do you turn a narrow slit into a large window? Fill it with a metamaterial that captures and transmits as much light as the bigger window. At least, that’s what Xiaohe Zhang and colleagues at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China tell us.
Metamaterials are substances constructed in a way that gives them exotic bulk properties that aren’t otherwise found in nature, such as the ability to manipulate electromagnetic radiation in unheard of ways. Much of the publicity about metamaterials has revolved around their potential ability to form invisibility cloaks that can hide an object from view. But less well known are a menagery of designs that do other strange things such as rotate the appearance of a cloaked object.
Now Xiaohe Zhang and pals have weighed in with yet another design: a material “that can transmit the information outside a domain through a small slit, with the transmittance identical to the one of a big window”. In other word, they’ve designed a small window with the same transparency as a larger one, albeit one that works in the microwave region of the spetrum
But why on Earth would you want one of these? It’s one of those things that has a useful smell about it but the team don’t mention any applications their paper so I’m kinda stumped.
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0805.3039: Transformation Media that Turn a Narrow Slit into a Large Window