Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hopes Dim for Perfect Lens

This could be a major setback for those working in trying to perfect "lenses" using the negative refraction phenomenon. A theorist has published a paper (link is open to all only for a limited time) arguing that there is an inherent problem with such a device - substantial absorption that cannot be overcome with current metamaterial structure.

Mark Stockman, a theoretical physicist at Georgia State University, argues that...

The electrons in the materials slosh in response to the electromagnetic fields in the light, and causality says that the precise arrangement and motion of the electrons can depend on light that has already passed through them--not on the light that has yet to arrive. Starting from that point, Stockman has shown mathematically that negative refraction and absorption are intertwined so that you cannot have one without the other, as he reports in a paper to be published in Physical Review Letters. "There is no way to decrease the losses," Stockman says. "The [negative refraction] effect will disappear." In particular, simple amplification won't do the trick, he says.

Of course, this will not stop others working in this field to either prove him wrong, or find a way around this.



jazzyprof said...

I just stumbled upon your blog and I want to commend you on the fantastic job you're doing. You're accurate and current...so current that I only found out about Stockman's forthcoming paper by reading your blog...and I happen to work in optics! Keep up the good work!

ZapperZ said...

Thanks, jazzyprof. That's a very nice thing to say!