"METAMATERIAL: Demo takes subwavelength focusing to visible light "
Engineers at Purdue University claim to have conjured a mathematical model for metamaterials that designers can use to improve the resolution of lenses below the wavelength of light. Subwavelength focusing, for instance, could enable semiconductor lithography to plumb the nanoscale without having to use ultrashort-wavelength extreme-ultraviolet or X-rays. Others have already demonstrated metamaterials with subwavelength focusing for microwaves and acoustic waves. Now, engineers at Purdue and elsewhere are working toward photonic metamaterials that provide subwavelength focusing for visible light. Professor Kevin Webb, a EE at Purdue performed the work with his EE assistant Ming-Chuan Yang and MIT professor Keith Nelson, assisted by one of his doctoral candidates, David Ward. Metamaterials put macroscopic objects sized for a desired subwavelength into a giant-sized crystalline lattice, which interacts in the opposite way from natural materials.