The UK’s Metamaterials Network has launched a new website to support the EPSRC funded initiative’s forthcoming activities: www.metamaterials.network
The Network is a joint endeavour between the EPSRC UK Metamaterials Network led by Prof Alastair Hibbins and Dr Anja Roeding from the University of Exeter and the KTN Commercialising Metamaterials Innovation Network led by Dr Steve Morris and Dr Robert Quarshie from the KTN.
The Network brings together the UK metamaterials community and international partners to resolve interdisciplinary challenges in this exciting field of emerging materials – from theory, fabrication, experiment, to large-scale manufacturing and field testing.
Dr Anja Roeding, Operations Lead of the Network and Co-Director of the Centre for Metamaterial Research and Innovation at the University of Exeter, said:
“We believe that the physical and disciplinary separation of research groups and lack of platforms to exchange and develop ideas currently inhibits the UK’s access to the interdisciplinary potential existing within our universities, industries, and governmental agencies.”
Metamaterials are artificial materials with characteristics beyond those found in nature that unlock routes to material and device functionalities not available using conventional approaches. Their electromagnetic, acoustic or mechanical behaviour is not simply dictated by averaging out the properties of their constituent elements, but emerge from the precise control of geometry, arrangement, alignment, material composition, shape, size and density of their constituent elements.
The ‘Metamaterials’ topic is inherently interdisciplinary, spanning advanced materials (plasmonics, active materials, RF, high index contrast, 2D materials, phase-change materials, transparent conductive oxides, soft materials), theoretical physics, quantum physics, chemistry, biology, engineering (mechanical and electrical), acoustics, computer sciences (e.g. artificial intelligence, high performance computing), and robotics.
In terms of applications, metamaterials have phenomenal potential in important areas from energy to ICT, defence & security, aerospace, and healthcare. Numerous market research studies predict very significant growth over the next decade: for example, by 2030 the metamaterial device market is expected to reach a value of over $10bn (Lux Research 2019).
The UK Metamaterials Network will focus initially on Special Interest Groups (SIGs) for Active Metamaterials, Flexible and Conformable Metasurfaces, Manufacturing & Scale-Up, Mechanical Metamaterials, Modelling and AI-Design, Nanophotonic & Plasmonic Metamaterials, and Wireless & Microwave Metamaterials. In addition, the well-established UK Acoustic Network’s SIG for Acoustic metamaterials will be jointly led between UKAN and the UK Metamaterials Network going forward.
Cross-SIG interactions will be fostered through Forums dedicated to Early Career Researchers, Horizon Scanning & Disruptive Concepts development, Outreach and Education. The Network’s Industry Forum, together with KTN, aims to bring together small to large enterprises to identify pathways to metamaterials exploitation and facilitate transition from research into industrial applications.
Dr Steve Morris, KTN, emphasises:
“This initiative will build a community to accelerate novel and innovative metamaterials research and exploitation pathways, while securing and building the UK’s sovereign capability and prosperity in this crucial scientific area.”
The first phase of the website was launched just before the Easter break and has already welcomed over 100 members across the UK institutions and industries.
Join the UK Metamaterials Network
Dr Anja Roeding
Co-Lead of the EPSRC UK Metamaterials Network