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Metamaterial Device Can Be Used As An Analog Computer

The field of materials science is evolving into the development of intelligent materials that can make use of external stimuli to influence their own forms and performances.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania continued to follow this goal by designing metamaterials that can solve equations and, embedded in a device, act as a type of analog computer.

A team led by a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Systems at the School of Engineering and Applied Science at UPenn, Nader Engheta, designed metamaterials that have metrology similar to that of Swiss cheese and that researchers claim it can do Photonic Calculation.

“Our device contains a block of dielectric material with a very specific distribution of air holes,” Engheta said, referring to the metrology that compared Swiss cheese. The material is a type of polystyrene plastic whose complex shape is sculpted by a numerically controlled milling machine.

Researchers believe a small version of the technology can be used to accelerate the processing of next-generation chips as well as other optical and computer applications.

The metamaterial works as follows, a prototype of hollow regions in the Swiss cheese structure is encoded to crack an integral equation with a given nucleus or a part of the equation telling the relationship amid two variables. In the scientific field, this general class of such integral equations called Fredholm’s integral equations of the second kind is a common way of describing diverse physical phenomena in different scientific fields, the researchers explained.

In this configuration, the predefined equation can be solved for all the random inputs represented by the phases and the magnitude of the waves introduced into the device, thus Engheta mentioned.

It was also seen that the solutions can be obtained in hundred nanoseconds, further after taking it to optics it would reach to picoseconds.

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