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An Overview of the Theory and Applications of Metasurfaces: The Two-Dimensional Equivalents of Metamaterials



Christopher L. Holloway, Edward E. Kuester, Joshua A. Gordon, James C. Booth, John Ohara, D Smith


Metamaterials are typically engineered by arranging a set of small scatterers or apertures in a regular array throughout a region of space, thus obtaining some desirable bulk electromagnetic behavior. Often the desired property is one that is not normally found naturally (negative refractive index, near-zero index, etc.). Over the past ten years metamaterials have moved from being simply a theoretical concept to a field with developed and marketed applications. Three-dimensional metamaterials can be extended by arranging electrically small scatterers or holes into a two-dimensional pattern at a surface or interface. This surface version of a metamaterial has been given the name metasurface (the term metafilm has also been employed for certain structures). For many applications, metasurfaces can be used in place of metamaterials. Metasurfaces have the advantage of taking up less physical space than do full three-dimensional metamaterial structures; consequently, metasurfaces offer the possibility of less lossy structures. In this overview paper we discuss the theoretical basis by which metasurfaces should be characterized, and discuss various of their applications. We will see how metasurfaces are distinguished from conventional frequency selective surfaces. Metamaterials have a wide range of potential applications in electromagnetics (ranging from low microwave to optical frequencies) including: 1) controllable ``smart'' surfaces, 2) miniaturized cavity resonators, 3) novel waveguiding structures, 4) angular independent surfaces, 5) absorbers, 6) biomedical devices, 7) terahertz switches, and 8) fluid-tunable frequency-agile materials, to name only a few. In this review, we will see that the development in recent years of such materials and/or surfaces are bringing us closer to realizing the exciting speculations made over one hundred years ago by the work of Lamb, Schuster, and Pocklington, and later by Mandel'shtam and Veselago.
IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine


agile materials, effective media, engineered materials, generalized sheet transition conditions (GSTC), metafilm, metamaterial, metasurface, polarizability densities, surface susceptibility, tunable materials


Holloway, C. , Kuester, E. , Gordon, J. , Booth, J. , Ohara, J. and Smith, D. (2012), An Overview of the Theory and Applications of Metasurfaces: The Two-Dimensional Equivalents of Metamaterials, IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine, [online], (Accessed April 24, 2024)
Created April 1, 2012, Updated January 27, 2020