You are here

Center for Metamaterials (CfM)

Clarkson University

The City University of New York

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Last Reviewed: (not done)

The Center for Metamaterials provides a facility for the design, fabrication, and testing of a wide range of metamaterials.

Center Mission and Rationale

The mission of the Center is to advance fundamental and applied metamaterials research, development, and technology transfer through strong industry/university collaborations. The researchers at the Center focus on industry-relevant, precompetitive research topics jointly identified by university and industry participants, and include metamaterials processing, testing, and device development. The projects advance the knowledge base for metamaterials through precompetitive research that will directly benefit Center members through shared knowledge and intellectual property. The intent is to nurture long-term relationships and collaborations among the university, industry, and government laboratories. Members participating in the Center share in research and development, laboratory infrastructure, and the resulting economic benefits.

Research program

Active Metamaterials

In this project proposal, we propose to explore this riich area of fundamental research of metamaterial, which is characteristically defined by its active composition of the host material. Here by active we refer to the material properties that exhibit either optical gain under pumping or strong material nonlinear properties or both.

Active Metasurfaces

Recently, metamaterials researchers have developed novel metallic feature structures, metasurfaces, that allow for local control of the phase as an optical beam is transmitted through a surface. The objectives of this project are to investigate these metasurfaces using a low cost, rapid development approach to increase the efficiency of the refraction, develop designs that allow for pixilated arrays of flat lens, and investigate tuning concepts that would allow for the steering of microwave and infrared beams.

Conformal Metamaterial Antennas

It has been shown that the use of non-Foster tuning elements can create broad bandwidth performance of electrically small antenna elements, however the resulting antenna pattern will be quite wide. Similarly, it has been theoretically postulated that the use of metamaterial substrates can lead to narrow beamwidths in antenna patterns. It is anticipated that the combination of non-Foster tuning of electrically small antenna elements, combined with a metamaterial substrate will lead to a moderate element beamwidth and a narrow array factor beamwidth to allow a very wide beam sweep in a phased array antenna.

Design and Fabrication of Composite Optical Metamaterials

The goal of this project is to develop and validate a design tool for bulk metamaterials that takes into account coupling effects between nanostructures. It is based on a building block of equivalent circuit models for each nano-structure, the complete equivalent circuit determining bulk resonances and hence bulk refractive index properties. 

Design and Fabrication of Low-Loss Low-Index Optical Metamaterials

A new and rigorous theory (Ramm) that goes well beyond well known mixing rules (e.g. Maxwell-Garnett and Bruggeman) has been used to predict specific particle properties that would lead to a composite metamaterial having a desired refractive index, such as less than unity. Modeling based on this method and the development of processes and procedures to make and characterize coated nanoparticles is in progress.

Development of Modeling and Design Algorithms

Fast and accurate optical modeling tools are essential in device development. Unfortunately, many commercially available algorithms that are based on finite element analysis or finite difference time domain and are slow and prone to errors when applied to electrically large volumes. Professors Michael Fiddy and David Crouse have many years of experience in developing fast, accurate and flexible optical modeling algorithms for plasmonic and photonics crystals, and metamaterials.

High-Resolution E-field Mapping for IR Metamaterials

High resolution E-field mapping, based on interferometric detection of light scattered from an atomic-force-microscope tip, has been pioneered by Dr. Raschke. Through ongoing collaborations with him, we have built an instrument operating at 10.6 μm, with 20 nm spatial resolution. We use E-field Mapping for investigation of metamaterials. As an example, experimental E-field mapping will be useful in determining possible truncation effects in metamaterial flakes. We are using these flakes to develop metamaterial-based paints for large area applications.

Low-Loss Negative-Index THz Lens

We have a “microscopic” meta-atom-based design for a low-loss metamaterial that transfers evanescent waves. Coupling of evanescent waves from an object through the metamaterial gives information about subwavelength scale features. We use this image enhancement capability for nondestructive evaluation of structures at 10GHz and 1THz. Our goal is one tenth of a wavelength.

Process Development of Composite Materials

The objective of this project would be to design new composite toner particles with the unusual property, not available in nature, that swelling in an aqueous/caustic medium lowers the bonding strength to paper fibers considerably, without degrading any of the other imaging and bonding characteristics in the dry state.

Rapid Prototyping and Printing of Tunable Metamaterials

This project is based on exploiting low cost sub-wavelength scaled patterned structures to make tunable artificial anisotropic materials. These are important in a number of transformation optics applications and designs will scale from microwave to optical wavelengths in principle. 

Special Activities

IAB (Industry Advisory Board) Meetings - 

These meetings ensure that CfM projects are relevant and effective to its members and strengthen the Center's ties to the industry. The meetings are organized for the CfM's current and prospective industry members. Faculty and students who already participate or are willing to participate in the Center's projects are invited as well.

Optical Modeling Workshops - 

The workshop attendees use HFSS software to model advanced optical materials. The workshop is organized for the CfM's current and prospective industry members, faculty and students. Users are taught in a classroom setting and have access to workstations pre-loaded with HFSS optical modeling software. Engineers from Ansys (HFSS’ software developer) work interactively with workshop attendees and answer questions related to the software. A training manual is provided to all workshop attendees containing examples of metamaterial and nano-optic systems. 


Student Presentations at Conferences -

Students have the opportunity promote the Center by presenting project findings at various conferences.

Facilities and Laboratory

Core Facilities

   ➢ UNCC: The Center for Optoelectronics and Optical Communications
   ➢ UNCC: Advanced Microelectronic Materials Laboratory
   ➢ UNCC: The Microelectronics Fabrication Laboratory
   ➢ Clarkson: The Center for Advanced Materials Processing
   ➢ WCU: The Center for Rapid Product Realization
   ➢ CUNY: The Metamaterials Research and Development Laboratory
   ➢ CUNY: The Center for Advanced Technology in Photonics Applications
   ➢ CUNY: The Institute for Ultrafast Lasers and Spectroscopy


The City University of New York

160 Convent Avenue

New York, New York, 10031

United States

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

9201 University City Blvd.
Grigg Hall 235

Charlotte, North Carolina, 28223

United States


Clarkson University

8 Clarkson Ave.

Potsdam, New York, 13699

United States