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Multifunctional Metamaterials for Novel Interaction with the Environment



OBJECTIVE: Develop multifunctional metamaterials (MFM) which exploit the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum or energy for novel environmental interactions. Novel environmental interactions include (but are not limited to) EM wave guidance, absorption, negative permittivity, negative permeability, and EM stimulated mechanical resonance or oscillation. 

DESCRIPTION: Multifunctional Metamaterials (MFM) can harness, direct and control the propagation and transmission of certain aspects of the EM spectrum. There is a need for novel materials that can manipulate the paths traversed by visible light and other frequencies of the EM spectrum, including infrared (IR) and microwaves, alter their reflection and refraction, and enhance material properties for combat applications. MFMs are defined as artificially structured organic, metallic, ceramic, or composites of many materials which interact with the EM spectrum and exhibit behaviors that do not readily occur in nature. The proposers should demonstrate MFMs that control EM radiation by absorbing or guiding an incident wave around an object, without being affected and/or reflected by the object. Metamaterials should be engineered with arbitrarily assigned positive or negative values of permittivity and permeability, which can also be independently varied at will. The proposers should demonstrate the capability to build metamaterial based devices, adaptable to a broad spectrum of radiated light. The proposers should demonstrate materials and techniques that produce strong scattering suppression in all directions and over a broad bandwidth of operation. 

PHASE I: Phase I should demonstrate the innovation, the scientific and technical merit, the feasibility, and commercial merit of selected concepts. The proposers should identify and explore novel multifunctional metamaterials with one or many of the attributes such as negative reflective and refractive index across the electromagnetic spectrum, wave absorption, wave guidance, which enhance vehicle protection and performance. Metrics of interest for Phase 1 include percentage of EM energy absorbed, reflected, refracted at visible light frequencies and other frequencies of the EM spectrum, including infrared (IR) and microwaves; and measureable changes in MFM physical properties when under EM radiation and when not. Prototype samples, modeling and simulation (M&S), or other rigorous and scientifically sound methods should be used to demonstrate MFM performance along the stated metrics of interest. Prototype samples, models and data are an expected deliverable and include mathematical formulae and/or scientific M&S results. 

PHASE II: Phase II should culminate in well-defined deliverable prototype(s) (technologies or materials) which meet the requirements of the original solicitation topic. Prototype(s) should manipulate the paths traversed by light and other EM frequencies, alter their reflection and refraction, and/or create effects which enhance material properties for combat applications. Deliverables should include technical drawings and specifications, mathematical formulas, M&S and test results, and prototype(s) of MFMs. The measurable metrics of the metamaterials’ performance should include the changes in refraction, reflection index and scattering. The first prototype should be delivered at the end of the first year of Phase II SBIR. The second prototype should achieve a significant performance improvement of the first year’s prototype. The second prototype should be delivered at the end of the second year of Phase II SBIR and also include recommendations for large-scale manufacturing. Improved life cycle and performance models from Phase I are also expected deliverables. Testing of the Phase II designs should include benchtop testing of Phase II prototypes. Testing of the Phase II designs should also include system level testing of prototypes at Ground Vehicle Systems Center (CVSC) of Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC). Phase 2 performance metrics of interest include, but are not limited to a prototype MFM sample with the claimed environmental interactions from Phase 1 (% EM refractivity, % EM reflectivity, % EM absorption, etc.), MFM-mass cost at scale (i.e $/kg or $/ton), areal cost at scale (i.e. $/sqft or $/m2). 

PHASE III: Proposers could partner with the industry to build and implement novel materials and manufacturing techniques which make vehicles more or less visible on the road. These are all commercially viable benefits of this topic. Possible applications include: road safety, law enforcement, intelligence, rescue and training aids. This is a dual-use technology applicable for government and private industry use. 


1: Shalaev, V. M. (2008) "PHYSICS: Transforming Light". Science. 322 (5900): 384-386.

KEYWORDS: Metamaterials, Transformation Optics, Negative Permeability, Negative Permittivity, Negative Refraction Index, Scattering, Invisibility, Inertial Mass Reduction, Mechanical Resonance Or Oscillation 

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