Metamaterials technology is an emerging field based on the development of tiny, man-made structures that at certain frequencies exhibit acoustic, electromagnetic or optical properties not found in nature.
These artificial structures can be made from microscopic bits of conventional metals and plastics that are carefully assembled in precise arrangements to affect light, sound or radio waves in unconventional ways.
In the field of aerospace and defense, metamaterials technology applications could range from novel antennas and sensors to smart structures and even invisibility cloaks.
Kymeta Corp. of Redmond, Wash., a technology start-up backed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, is using metamaterials technology to develop a portable satellite hotspot device to access high-speed Internet absent wifi or mobile broadband signals. The company also plans to leverage the coming wave of satellite-based Ka-band
broadband with a new fuselage-hugging surface antenna that has no moving parts, is roughly the size of a pizza box and uses only a tiny fraction of the power typically needed for phased-array antennas.