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Electromagnetic Metasurfaces - from butterflies to battleships

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19:00 – 21:00 6 Apr 2016
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Room Ph8,
Durham Physics Department ,
Durham University,
South Road,
Durham,
DH1 3LE

Speakers: Professor Roy Sambles

Question:  What do graceful flickering vividly iridescent tropical butterflies have in common with dull grey ponderous battleships? 

Answer: Structured materials giving rather special electromagnetic response.

Taking little other than common cuticle, loaded with a small amount of melanin, butterflies have evolved some stunning microstructures (metasurfaces) in their wing scales. These structured surfaces, often only microns thick, act as selective reflectors and polarizers as well as being sometimes very strong scatterers (white) or very strong absorbers (black) of electromagnetic radiation. This use of structure in nature to give striking effects when interacting with visible radiation is of course limited to dielectrics. Synthetic structures may also incorporate metals. Surface structured metals, metasurfaces, can lead to unexpected effects: for example selective absorption, even at long wavelengths where metals are expected to behave as almost perfect mirrors, or even negative refraction.
This talk will illustrate the wonderful structural colours of butterflies and will also explore some recent developments in structured metals, metamaterials and metasurfaces which have surprising properties at microwave frequencies.

Event type: Lecture/Talk
Organised by: Institute of Physics North East
Contact details: Richard Hornby
r.j.l.hornby@physics.org

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Location icon
Room Ph8,
Durham Physics Department ,
Durham University,
South Road,
Durham,
DH1 3LE
Clock icon
19:00 – 21:00 6 Apr 2016
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Invite friends
Link copied!