Víctor Torres Landivar, Telecommunications engineer, has designed and manufactured new devices based on metamaterials (artificial materials with properties not found in nature). On drawing up his PhD, defended at the Public University of Navarre (UPNA), he achieved the first experimental demonstration ever with epsilon-near-zero (ENZ) metamaterials. "These materials have surprising characteristics, such as the fact that a wave travelling within them can do so at almost infinite speed and, thus, can be transmitted from one place to another without hardly any loss of energy, no matter how unusual or complicated the shape of the material. The potential applications of these media are numerous; for example, in nanocircuits, electrical levitation or invisibility."
The research focused mostly on the design of new metamaterials in the Terahertz (THz) frequencies, a waveband located between microwave and infrared. "It is a waveband with enormous potential for applications in biomedicine, radio-astronomy and security -- for the detection of explosives and weapons," pointed out Mr Torres. "Being a waveband of relatively recent use, there is a great lack of efficient devices and this is why the results of our research are contributing to filling this gap." The PhD thesis is entitled "Plasmonics and Metamaterials at Terahertz Frequencies."
The properties of the metamaterials do not arise from their composition but from the shape in which their structure is designed. "In this way, materials can be achieved, for example, with negative refraction index and which bend light in the opposite direction to what occurs in natural materials."
The results of the research can be summed up in three large groups: extraordinary transmission metamaterials, ENZ metamaterials, and optical nano-antennae.To read more, click here.