Other devices developed by the authors include parabolic reflectors that selectively absorb and transmit certain frequencies. Such concepts could simplify optical devices by combining the functions of reflection and filtering into one unit.
"The ability to consolidate functions using metamaterials could be incredibly useful," said Sameer Sonkusale, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Tufts University's School of Engineering who heads the Nano Lab at Tufts and is corresponding author of the study. "It's possible that we could use these materials to reduce the size of spectrometers and other optical measuring devices so they can be designed for portable field study."
The products of combining optical/electronic patterning with 3D fabrication of the underlying substrate are referred to by the authors as metamaterials embedded with geometric optics, or MEGOs. Other shapes, sizes, and orientations of patterned 3D printing can be conceived to create MEGOs that absorb, enhance, reflect or bend waves in ways that would be difficult to achieve with conventional fabrication methods.
There are a number of technologies now available for 3D printing, and the current study utilizes stereolithography, which focuses light to polymerize photo-curable resins into the desired shapes. Other 3D printing technologies, such as two photon polymerization, can provide printing resolution down to 200 nanometers, which enables the fabrication of even finer metamaterials that can detect and manipulate electromagnetic signals of even smaller wavelengths, potentially including visible light.