Graphene isn't the only game-changing material to come out of a lab. From aerogels nearly as light as air to metamaterials that manipulate light, here are six supermaterials that have the potential to transform the world of the future.
Metamaterials are a mind-bending class of matter. Broadly defined as manmade materials with unusual properties not found in nature, this category of materials is probably most famous for serving as the building blocks for a Harry Potter-style invisibility cloak. But so much more is possible.
It's likely that you've seen video of ferrofluids doing things like growing spines when exposed to magnets, or being built up into sculptures by artists using magnetic fields. But what if they're not just artistic triumphs? What if ferrofluids can act as models and let scientists learn about the multiverse?
Cylon raider? A new Tron vehicle that we'll see in an upcoming director's cut? Definitive proof that we are not alone? Actually, it's none of those things, but the dead silence it produces is amazing anyway.
Your pervy, Harry Potter-fueled dreams are edging closer to reality, now British scientists have used metamaterials to bend light in a different manner to previous attempts. Now, it works with a greater range of colors.
"Invisibility cloaks" have been in development for years, but keep hitting a major roadblock — the materials used absorb too much light. New research may have found the trick to get around that, and get us our cloaking devices.
A new, carefully synthesized material is a point of no return for certain kinds of light.
If you want peace and quiet, current technologies require a compromise: settle for thick, unsightly foam or use thinner panels that don't block bass. A new technology developed in Hong Kong, however, is both super thin and super effective.
The strange field of metamaterials offers some weird optical effects, like cloaking and superlenses. Recently, two breakthroughs in the field, involving programmable materials and gold nano-corkscrews, just made this exotic nano-stuff a little more practical, and maybe even stranger.
No, the opposite of an invisibility cloak isn't a normal jacket, smartass. This universal mirror uses metamaterials to bounce light back at the same angle from which it came, so no matter where you stand, you can see yourself perfectly.
Cat's eyes look creepy because, at certain sudden angles, they reflect light directly back at you, the viewer. The ever-popular question of invisibility is wrapped up in that ability to reflect light at certain directions, commonly known as the refractive index. This week, two physicists from the UK and the Czech…
Nanoparticles that self-assemble into complex optical structures sounds like an early ingredient in a future Robot Uprising recipe, but the science team at University of California, Berkeley thinks they'll be useful for nicely tame things. The self-assembly of the nanoparticle silver crystals can be controlled to…