5 Metamaterials That Make Matter Invisible, Silent or Blindingly Fast

5 Metamaterials That Make Matter Invisible, Silent or Blindingly Fast5 Metamaterials That Make Matter Invisible, Silent or Blindingly Fast.

When nature can’t supply raw ingredients for next-generation hardware, scientists create their own. Man-made “metamaterials” are going beyond the lab and into real-world applications. Scientists use existing composite materials, like the gold and gallium-arsenide mixes used in electronics, to create complex, though tiny, structures. These nano-size bumps, crosses, holes or ridges manipulate electromagnetic waves that hit them. Early prototypes of invisibility cloaks, which would guide light around an object to be shielded, have generated some techno­buzz. But researchers have quietly been inventing more near-term materials that will soon appear in the pockets of consumers and in the hands of military users.

Super Cellphones.

Rayspan Corp. of San Diego is using metamaterials to make stronger, smaller antennas. Although they measure just a few millimeters long and are as flat as paper, the new multiband antennas could double the range, reliability and battery life of cellular phones, Wi-Fi routers and wireless modems.

Availability: Already for sale, but the quality is expected to steadily improve over the next five years.