Metasurfaces represent the most promising class of metamaterials for real applications, whereby arbitrary wavefront and polarisation control can be achieved using just a single sub-wavelength layer. Therefore, allowing tunability over their capabilities is the next step to consolidate them as technology devices for light control. In our work we propose a new platform for creating tunable microwave devices based on gradient metasurfaces. Our study shows that the integration of a patterned elastic substrate in the design of functional metasurfaces is an effective approach to enable control over their electromagnetic properties.
To demonstrate the new platform, we propose, design and experimentally realize a novel tuning mechanism that controls the focal length of an electromagnetic metasurface lens by exploiting the degree of freedom provided by the flexible substrate, which enables continuous elongation of the system. When such a metasurface is uniaxially stretched, the distance between embedded electromagnetic resonators increases, producing a change in the phase profile created by these resonators, and this leads to a change of the focal distance of the lens. Thus, the flexible metasurface displays a functionality that can be continuously controlled by unidirectional mechanical loading. We fully characterize the spherical-like aberration phenomenon which accompanies the tuning process. Finally, our study reveals that an equidistant separation between the resonators leads to reduced device performance of the operational metasurface and, therefore, the utilization of other degrees of freedom is mandatory if the efficiency needs to be preserved.
Yair D. Zarate, Ilya V. Shadrivov, and David A. Powell, "Tunable flexible metasurfaces (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10103, Terahertz, RF, Millimeter, and Submillimeter-Wave Technology and Applications X, 101031C (Presented at SPIE OPTO: February 01, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2252042.5391659218001.
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