Metamaterials step into the light

Scientists in England and Valencia, Spain, have constructed what may be the first practical metamaterial that manipulates visible light. The researchers, who predict it could be used for subpicosecond optical switches and finely controlled laser pulses, reported the results at the March meeting of the American Physical Society. The layered structure of the Valencia team’s material, in contrast to the makeup of earlier visible-light devices, means it can conceivably be built up into a usable, full-size object. However, not everyone is convinced this is possible....