Transformation Optics and the Geometry of Light
Philbin, Thomas G.
Metamaterials are beginning to transform optics and microwave technology thanks to their versatile properties that, in many cases, can be tailored according to practical needs and desires. Although metamaterials are surely not the answer to all engineering problems, they have inspired a series of significant technological developments and also some imaginative research, because they invite researchers and inventors to dream. Imagine there were no practical limits on the electromagnetic properties of materials. What is possible? And what is not? If there are no practical limits, what are the fundamental limits? Such questions inspire taking a fresh look at the foundations of optics and at connections between optics and other areas of physics. In this article we discuss such a connection, the relationship between optics and general relativity, or, expressed more precisely, between geometrical ideas normally applied in general relativity and the propagation of light, or electromagnetic waves in general, in materials. We also discuss how this connection is applied: in invisibility devices, perfect lenses, the optical Aharonov-Bohm effect of vortices and in analogues of the event horizon.
Contribution to Progress in Optics vol. 53, edited by Emil Wolf
Progress in Optics Vol. 53, article 2 (pp. 69-152)