Light mesh: The large-area metamaterial is made up of a layered mesh of metals patterned on the nanoscale.
“We can now bang out gigantic sheets of this stuff,” Rogers says. Making the mold for the stamp takes care, but once that mold has been created, it doesn’t take long to make many reusable stamps.
Xiang Zhang, chair of mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, says this work represents an important step toward applications for optical metamaterials. “Various metamaterials could be made bigger by this method,” says Zhang, who in 2008 created the design that Rogers used for this first demonstration. “For example, macroscale 2-D lenses and cloaks may be possible, and possibly solar concentrators, too.” One potential application is in lenses that integrate multiple functions in single devices, for telecommunications and imaging.
“This printing technique is quite powerful and has the potential to scale to very large areas,” says Nicholas Fang, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. Fang says this type of metamaterial would be particularly interesting for infrared imaging devices.