Metamaterials put the Brakes on Light
Designing methods to slow down electromagnetic signals just got easier with a new model that predicts how light will absorb and scatter from devices made from metamaterials. Metamaterials are built from small, engineered structures that, in some ways, mimic the role of atoms, yet can manipulate light in ways not seen in conventional materials. Slowing down light can arise in metamaterials through a process known as electromagnetically induced transparency, when destructive coupling occurs between a bright resonator and a dark resonator. The model shows what microscopic parameters will lead to the largest slowdown and also predicts an interesting phenomenon related to this — a classical analogue of electromagnetically induced absorption. This effect provides enhanced light absorption in a very narrow frequency band, and such a device has been demonstrated experimentally. The new model and associated findings have potential applications for building sensing devices and new spectroscopic tools.