When the editors of Physical Review Letters first received the manuscript, they immediately rejected it. Their form letter said the work didn't seem important enough to even send it out for review. The editors didn't realize that the contents would revolutionize the manipulation of electromagnetic waves that dominate today's technology.
Then again, neither did the author.
The year was 2000, and David R. Smith was a research scientist at the University of California, San Diego, who was interested in tinkering with the properties of materials. He had a crazy notion that by controlling the structure of materials rather than the chemistry one could engineer materials with properties never seen in nature.
Now, Duke-developed “metamaterials” are carefully designed structures that control all sorts of physical waves in previously impossible ways. Our researchers are poised to make these devices a household name.
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