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As the exciting new field of metamaterials advances, Duke has become one of the world's leading centers of this research. Founded in 2009, Duke's Center for Metamaterials and Integrated Plasmonics (CMIP) has grown to encompass dozens of researchers dedicated to exploring artificially structured materials.
What these various metamaterials technologies have in common is the control of waves, from waves of water around a ship's hull, to the electromagnetic frequencies that power our communications, to sound waves that are measured in meters. Given this scope, the potential impacts of this work are still beyond measure.
Lot - Ways - Waves - David - R
"There are a lot of ways to control waves, many of which weren't thought of before or really exploited," said David R. Smith who co-founded CMIP and helped recruit like-minded colleagues to Duke. "Metamaterials has given us a way to manage waves in a way that is really unprecedented."
Trying to fill 'the terahertz gap'
Computer - Engineering - Professor - Willie - Padilla
Electrical and computer engineering Professor Willie Padilla, who came to Duke in 2014 from Boston College, is focusing his work at the tiniest scale of wavelengths. His metamaterials research is the most similar to that of David R. Smith, with whom he worked on the original split-ring resonators at UC San Diego 15 years ago. But Padilla is mostly focused on terahertz frequencies that lie between microwaves and infrared on the electromagnetic spectrum.
The terahertz regime has long been ignored by science because it doesn't lend itself well to manipulation. The radio and microwave devices we have all around us act on electrons. Optical and infrared devices work on photons. But as these devices try to manipulate photons or electrons in frequencies further from their comfort zones on the electromagnetic spectrum, they hit a wall and stop behaving as asked. Lying between the preferred frequency slices of both of these particles is the terahertz range.
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