Physicist Professor Sir John Pendry to Speak

[ubermenu config_id=”main” menu=”84″] NEWSROOM Physicist Professor Sir John Pendry to SpeakFeb 10, 2009 Renowned physicist, Professor Sir John Pendry will deliver a seminar on campus, Friday, 13 February. Well known for his theoretical insights which h …

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Physicist Professor Sir John Pendry to Speak

Feb 10, 2009

Sir John Pendry, The Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College LondonRenowned physicist, Professor Sir John Pendry will deliver a seminar on campus, Friday, 13 February. Well known for his theoretical insights which have fascinated scientists, engineers as well as the general public, his major contributions include the Perfect Lens and invisibility cloaking.  Dr. Pendry will discuss the profound new control over electromagnetic fields afforded by a new class of media – metamaterials. Winner of the Dirac medal and the Descartes Prize, Dr. Pendry is a fellow of the Royal Society, a Knight Bachelor and holds the Chair in Theoretical Solid State Physics at Imperial College London.

John Pendry is a condensed matter theorist. He has worked at the Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London, since 1981. He began his career in the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, followed by six years at the Daresbury Laboratory where he headed the theoretical group. He has worked extensively on electronic and structural properties of surfaces developing the theory of low energy diffraction and of electronic surface states.

Cloak of InvisibilityIn 1992 he turned his attention to photonic materials and developed some of the first computer codes capable of handling these novel materials. This interest led to his present research, the subject of his lecture, which concerns the remarkable electromagnetic properties of materials where the normal response to electromagnetic fields is reversed leading to negative values for the refractive index.

In collaboration with scientists at The Marconi Company he designed a series of ‘metamaterials’ whose properties owed more to their micro-structure than to the constituent materials. These made accessible completely novel materials with properties not found in nature. Successively metamaterials with negative electrical permittivity, then with negative magnetic permeability were designed and constructed. These designs were subsequently the basis for the first material with a negative refractive index, a property predicted 40 years ago by a Russian scientist, but unrealized because of the absence of suitable materials.

He went on to explore the surface excitations of the new negative materials and showed that these were part of the surface plasmon excitations familiar in metals. This project culminated in the proposal for a ‘perfect lens’ whose resolution is unlimited by wavelength. These concepts have stimulated further theoretical investigations and many experiments which have confirmed the predicted properties.

More recently, in collaboration with a team of scientists at Duke University, he has proposed a recipe for a cloak that can hide an arbitrary object from electromagnetic fields. A version of this design working at radar frequencies and exploiting the properties of metamaterials has now been implemented experimentally by the Duke team.

The seminar will take place on Friday, February 13, at 1:00 PM, in 1230 EBII.  The seminar is open to the public and directions to Engineering Building II can be found on the ECE Directions page.

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