Metamaterials are structures comprising elements that are subwavelength, making them appear as a homogeneous material to any incoming light. Their electromagnetic properties are controlled by their geometry, and hence have been designed to have exotic electromagnetic properties across a large portion of the electromagnetic spectrum – from microwave to visible frequencies.
A particular branch of metamaterials – the metamaterial perfect absorber (MPA) – has garnered interest due to the fact that it can achieve complete absorption of electromagnetic waves. Since their initial development, MPAs have proved to be not only useful for a multitude of applications but also as a platform to investigate classical electromagnetic wave theory. W. Padilla and co-workers (Boston College) have succeeded in giving an excellent overview of the subject and discussing a selection of examples and related applications. They provide a critical view of the current state of the field as well as prospects for future works.
The article is published in the second issue of Advanced Optical Materials, the new section in Advanced Materials (2010 IF: 10.880) dedicated to breakthrough discoveries and fundamental research in the field of light-matter interactions. It includes communications, full papers, and reviews.