Duke University engineers have developed a novel sensor for airport security scanners and collision avoidance systems. The researchers fabricated a unique metamaterial that acts as a “lens” to image scenes using fewer components than conventional detectors. Because of the properties of the man-made material, much of the additional equipment needed for conventional detector systems – like lenses, mechanical positioners, and data storage or transmissions devices – are not required.
The material itself is a thin laminate with row-upon-row of tiny squares etched onto copper, each one of which is tuned to a different frequency of light. In fact, the material is flexible and durable enough to be attached to a wall, wrapped around corners, or even laid on the floor like a rug, making it an inexpensive alternative for a variety of sensing applications.
The new system works with microwave light and produces two-dimensional images. The researchers are currently exploring the idea of moving the technology to three-dimensional capability in real-world settings.
Also: Learn about nonlinear acoustic metamaterials for sound attenuation applications.