Saturday Morning Physics
From Negative Refraction to Wireless Power Transfer: The Path of the Superlens
Speaker: Roberto Merlin (Peter A. Franken Collegiate Professor of Physics and Professor of EECS, UM)


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  • Host Department: Physics
  • Date: 02/04/2012
  • Time: 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

  • Location: 170 & 182 Dennison Building

  • Description: Professor Merlin's talk takes us from the late 1800's, when Abbe published his ground-breaking paper on the limit of resolution of an optical instrument, to the turn of the 20th century, when the field of near-field optics experienced tremendous growth, emphasizing recent work on sub-wavelength focusing using negative-index slabs. In the second half of the talk, he introduces the concept of near-field plates. These are grating-like planar structures, which provide focusing well beyond the diffraction limit, at arbitrary frequencies. The subwavelength electromagnetic-field distributions of the plates closely resemble those of negative-index slabs. Practical implementations of these plates hold promise for near-field data storage, non-contact sensing, imaging, nanolithography and wireless power transfer applications. Experimental results on a microwave near-field plate will be presented, which demonstrate focusing of 1 GHz radiation at a resolution of LAMBDA/20.