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Creating the Invisibility Cloak: New Horizons in Electromagnetism

Professor Sir John Pendry, The Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London.

From: The IET Centenary Kelvin Lecture.

12 March 2009  Electronics channel

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About the presentation
Electromagnetism encompasses much of modern technology. Its influence rests on our ability to deploy materials that can control the component electric and magnetic fields. A new class of materials has created some extraordinary possibilities such as a negative refractive index, and lenses whose resolution is limited only by the precision with which we can manufacture them. Cloaks have been designed and built that hide objects within them, but remain completely invisible to external observers. The new materials, named metamaterials, have properties determined as much by their internal physical structure as by their chemical composition. The structure must be on a scale much less than the wavelength so that their responses can be described by an electrical permittivity and magnetic permeability.
About the speaker
Professor Sir John Pendry is noted for his work on the interaction of electrons and photons with surfaces. He has recently captured the attention of the media and the popular imaginations as his work has given rise to the potential for invisibility and a perfect lens where the resolution is unlimited by the wavelength of light. In collaboration with scientists at The Marconi Company he designed a series of ‘metamaterials’ whose properties owed more to their micro-structure than to the constituent materials. These made accessible completely novel materials with properties not found in nature. During his career, Sir John has explored many novel and ingenious aspects of electronic and photonic interactions. In the past decade he has concentrated on problems in photonics, introducing a computational methodology to study photonic crystals in which the constituents were metallic and therefore dispersive.
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