Coding Metamaterials, Digital Metamaterials and Programmable Metamaterials

Authors: Tie Jun Cui, Qiang Cheng, Xiang Wan

Source: FERMAT, Volume 7, Communications 3, Jan Feb.,2015

Abstract: As artificial structures, metamaterials are usually described by macroscopic effective medium parameters, which are named as “analog metamaterials”. Here, we propose “digital metamaterials” in two steps. Firstly, we present “coding metamaterials” that are composed of only two kinds of unit cells with 0 and π phase responses, which we name as “0” and “1” elements. By coding “0” and “1” elements with controlled sequences (i.e., 1-bit coding), we can manipulate electromagnetic (EM) waves and realize different functionalities. The concept of coding metamaterial can be extended from 1-bit coding to 2-bit or more. In 2-bit coding, four kinds of unit cells with phase responses 0, π/2, π, and 3π/2 are required to mimic “00”, “01”, “10” and “11” elements, which have larger freedom to control EM waves. Secondly, we propose a unique metamaterial particle which has either “0” or “1” response controlled by a biased diode. Based on the particle, we present “digital metamaterials” with unit cells having either “0” or “1” state. Using the field-programmable gate array, we realize to control the digital metamaterial digitally. By programming different coding sequences, a single digital metamaterial has distinct abilities in manipulating EM waves, realizing the “programmable metamaterials”. The above concepts and physical phenomena are confirmed by numerical simulations and experiments through metasurfaces.

Keywords: Coding metamaterial, digital metamaterial, programmable metamaterial, real-time control of metamaterials

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Coding Metamaterials, Digital Metamaterials and Programmable Metamaterials