Tuesday, May 04, 2004

PhysicsWeb: Beating the diffraction limit

By David R. Smith, May 2004
This overview article discusses the progress made in creating and using materials with negative indexes of refraction. So remember your basic optics, a wave traveling from a vacuum will bend toward the surface when it hits a material with a positive index. A negative index means that it will bend past the normal (>=180 deg). This means that you can have flat lenses and all kinds of neat things. The idea of a material with a negative index was developed in 1968, but it's now do-able because of materials research.
Update: 6/17/04, Contemporary Physics has a nice article by JB Pendry explaining this and reviewing the 200 recent articles (v.45 n.3 (Jun/Jul 04): 191-202.) Subscribers can resolve this doi to get it: 10.1080/00107510410001667434. (If you have it through Ingenta just work your normal magic to have that happen).