Materials scientists aim to engineer intelligence into the fabric of materials or metamaterials for programmable functions. Engineering efforts can vary from passive to active forms to develop programmable metasurfaces using dynamic and arbitrary electromagnetic (EM) wavefields. Such metasurfaces, however, require manual control to switch between functions. In a new study now published on Light: Science & Applications, Qian Ma and an interdisciplinary research team in the State Key Laboratory, Cyberspace Science and Technology, and the Department of Electronics in China engineered a smart metasurface for self-adaptive programmability.

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