Daniel Porter
May 9, 2012

Breakthrough metamaterial creates new possibilities for acoustics

Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have experimentally realized a new class of material that has been theorized to exists for over a decade. This new material, called a "pentamode metamaterial," is extremely light, and behaves almost like a fluid. Almost is the key word: though it has shear and compression properties not unlike that of water, the material is a crystal at room temperature. Advances in nanofabrication have allowed a research team lead by Professor Martin Wegener to create and assemble the individual "building blocks" of this new class of materials. The nanoparticles resemble jacks, whose number, length and angle determine the exact properties of the final bulk material. “Realizing a pentamode metamaterial is about as difficult as trying to build a scaffold from pins that must not touch but at their tips,”explained Dr. Muamer Kadic, the paper's primary author.