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Did you know the word ‘meta’ is the root of a greek word that means ‘to go beyond’ ?

What is Metamaterial ?

Metamaterials are a new category of artificially made functional materials that interact with different forms of energy such as light in ways that are impossible in nature. A typical metamaterial consists of a variety of unit cells known as meta atoms. The unit cells are made of conventional metals and plastics.

Unlike in nature where chemical composition determines the behavior of a material, the unique properties of metamaterials are derived through internal microstructures. By deliberately engineering the design such as geometry, size, shape and orientation of these unit cells at a nano-scale, the physical properties of the material are altered. This allows the metamaterials to gain electromagnetic properties such as negative index of refraction and electromagnetic cloaking. Before this emerging technology, these phenomena were just science fiction ideas.

Metamaterials providing connection in a dead area between two skyscrapers.

Applications of Metamaterials

1. Medical Resonance Imaging (MRI)

  • MRI’s can often be uncomfortable as they require the patient to remain in an enclosed space for up to 90 minutes causing feelings of anxiety and emotional distress

  • With Metamaterials scientists have been able to decrease the time by half while increasing the quality of the MRI.

  • This is done by putting a layer of a certain metamaterial onto the bed of the scanner which improves the signal to noise ratio and enhances the image.

2. Communication Technology

  • The radio waves responsible for our connections (5G, wifi) get absorbed or disrupted by various different objects in their way. This is why in an urban area surrounded by tall skyscrapers 5G connections are not at their peak.

  • With 2D surfaced metamaterials provided by META and with Sekisui’s film processing technology, new metamaterial is able to deflect only radio waves. This coating could provide efficient connection in areas with dead connection. This is beneficial not only outside, but with reflecting radio waves at specific angles it could also be utilized in indoor environments.

3. Sustainability and Cleantech

  • Solar panels are the most promising forms of prominent renewable energy. However, they have a theoretical upper limit for the amount of electrical energy they can extract from a photon. (Shockley-Queisser Limit)

  • The solar panels with metamaterial addition have the ability to absorb light directly and from wider angles, which was not possible before. This is done by redirecting and absorbing light by engineering the metamaterial to adopt the property of doing just that.


1. Berger, M. (2023, February 2). Explaining metamaterials and metasurfaces - properties and applications. Nanotechnology.

2. Health. Health | Centre for Metamaterial Researchand Innovation | University of Exeter. (n.d.).

3. Hosseinzadeh, H. R., & Hosseinzadeh, H. (2018, March 30). Metamaterials in medicine: A new era for future orthopedics. crimsonpublishers.,protecting%20the%20surrounding%20body%20tissue.

4. Metamaterials. Metamaterials - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (n.d.-a).

5. Network, I. N. (2022, May 30). Metamaterials enabling medical breakthroughs, promise affordable, accurate point-of-care diagnostics - part 2. INN.

6. Team, M. (2023, April 19). What are metamaterials?. META.

7. Team, M. (2023a, April 18). The role of metamaterials in a sustainable future. Meta.,emissions%2C%20and%20a%20brighter%20world

8. 5G Communications. META. (2022a, October 28).

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