Catching Rainbows

Hyperbolic Metamaterial Waveguide
Hyperbolic Metamaterial Waveguide

At the new Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics at the University of Buffalo, engineers are developing an advanced microchip made of alternate ultra-thin films of metal and semiconductors and/or insulators.   They call these “hyperbolic metamaterial waveguides” because they halt and ultimately absorb each frequency of light at slightly different places in a vertical direction to “catch a rainbow” of wavelengths.

This could lead to advancements in an array of fields:  electronics, solar panels and other energy-harvesting devices.  Technology such as the Stealth bomber involves materials that make planes, ships and other devices invisible to radar, infrared, sonar and other detection methods.  Because the on-chip absorber has the potential to absorb different wavelengths at a multitude of frequencies, it could be useful as a stealth coating material.

So forget about leprechauns, today’s engineers are catching rainbows!








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