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Chiral metamaterials

Most materials in nature take their properties from the atoms of which they are made-we can see through glass because it is made from silicon dioxide, which has an atomic structure that does not impede visible light. Scientists can arrange matter to interact differently with light, or to interact in specific ways. The resulting metamaterials take their properties both from their structure and the materials from which they are made.

This is a kind of easy-to-miss breakthrough that could usher in fundamental changes to the way we think about certain products and diseases. The even-quieter revolution (though not in some quarters) that has happened in the physics community since the advent of nanoscale research is nothing less than astonishing. A full generaiton of researchers has come of age thinking, working, looking, investigating and understanding what we can be done beyond the visible scale. This work is just one result of that intuition establishing itself and taking us to places we've never been. Great job. There it is: the leading edge. 

Image: SEM images the fan-shaped structures of nanometer-thick Ag films deposited on polystyrene colloid beads (diameter 500 nm) by glancing angle deposition; figure in the right-upper corner shows the absorbance spectrum and the circular dichroism spectrum of the fan film; middle image shows a FDTD (Finite-difference time domain) calculation of a linear polarized light  at 400 nm passing through the periodic fan structure. Images courtesy Zhao Research lab, UGA physics and astronomy.

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